Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew content with narrow lead
Last Updated: 13/09/19 8:40pm
Team USA captain Juli Inkster admitted the pace of play was an issue on the opening day of the Solheim Cup.
Inkster’s side trail Europe 4.5-3.5 after a long day at Gleneagles, with three of the afternoon fourballs taking well over five hours to be completed.
“Yes [it was an issue], it’s painfully slow out there,” said Inkster. “I know we had maybe a couple on our side that are maybe a little bit slower, but they have a few on their side, too, that are a little slow. So I don’t know, I don’t know what to do.
“You look at this golf course, it’s tough. The wind’s blowing. The greens are firm. The ball’s not going anywhere. It’s cold. I mean, it’s not like it’s a pitch and putt. It’s a tough golf course and out here every shot counts. Every putt counts.
“So it’s going to take longer. That’s just the way it is. I thought the way the golf was played today was phenomenal for the conditions. It’s hard. It’s hard golf.”
American Lizette Salas was given a warning at one stage and placed on the clock in the opening fourball of the afternoon, but Inkster defended her player, who lost 4&2 alongside Danielle Kang to Suzann Pettersen and Anne van Dam.
“I think Lizette had a bad time,” she said. “But that was the only player that had a bad time out there. She knows she probably has to speed it up a little bit. But I’m not going to say anything.”
The USA were staring at a big overnight deficit at one stage but Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson and Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare snatched halves with crucial birdies at the 18th.
“No one really ever talks about the half point. And I have to say those two half points at the end were huge,” she said.
“So we start off hot and we got a little lukewarm in that middle, but we finished hot. So I’m very pleased with the way the day went, because everybody played. And we had some good matches.
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“We just gotta keep the Euros in our rear-view mirror, or our front mirror, so we can see them. You don’t want to get too far down. It was looking like we could be two-and-a-half points down.
“It’s not insurmountable, but you keep gnawing a half a point here and point there and it adds up. So to be only a point down. You look at all the golf today and we’re only a point down. So I’m very pleased with where we’re at right now.”
Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew was not too concerned about the pace of play and will leave it to the officials to sort out.
“Obviously that back nine this afternoon did get pretty slow,” she said. “I don’t really know what caused it. When you’re jumping around not following just one game it’s difficult to tell.
“But some of the players on both sides do take quite a while to hit a shot. But it’s the officials really. They’re the ones who police the pace of play, so it’s really up to them, I think.
“The players are aware of the pace of play policies. I mean, no one wants to see slow play. Obviously with the bigger crowds it’s more difficult sometimes, but ideally it would be nice to be faster tomorrow.”
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Matthew was a little frustrated, though, that her side’s lead was not bigger after Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law and Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz both had to settle for halves as it finished 2-2 in the afternoon.
“Our objective is to try to win every session,” she said. “But I think you have to take the positives and we’re leading. We’re a point up. If we’re leading at the end of each day, that would be great.
“So I think obviously everyone’s a little disappointed by that, but Charley had a great putt in the last, just a little firm.
“Brittany holed up and made a great birdie. It’s not as if they lost it with bad play; the others birdied it. We’re pleased with going in with a one-point lead.”