Europe rally to dominate US in Solheim Cup foursomes

New York (AFP) –


Defending champions Europe seized the early initiative in their Solheim Cup battle with the United States on Saturday, taking a commanding three-point lead after the opening foursomes.

Europe, chasing only their second ever victory on US soil in the biennial team tournament, dominated the powerful American line-up to win 3 1/2 of the four points on offer in the morning session at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

All four matches were decided on the final hole, with the Europeans staging a late rally after it appeared the US women seemed poised to enjoy the better of the opening skirmishes.

"Obviously there's a long way to go but a dream start," Europe captain Catriona Matthew said after watching her team take a 3 1/2 point to 1/2 point lead.

"I watched all the players go through the turn and it just felt like every little break was going America's way and the momentum was swinging towards the US," Matthew added.

"But in the last five or six holes everything swung towards us. I don't remember all four matches going to the 18th hole before."

Newly-crowned Women's British Open champion Anna Nordqvist of Sweden got Europe's first points on the board, tapping in a three-foot par putt to give her and rookie partner Matilda Castren a 1-up victory over Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst.

Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall then staged a dramatic late fightback from two down with two to play to halve their match with Ally Ewing and Megan Khang, to deprive the US of a full point.

Mel Reid and Leona Maguire upset world number one Nelly Korda and sister Jessica to win 1-up in their game, Jessica Korda missing a long birdie putt that would have halved the match.

Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen won the remaining foursome after a roller-coaster battle with Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare.

Altomare and Thompson were two up with four to play, but Pedersen and Hull squared the match with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, and then grabbed a birdie on the last to win.

The US will attempt to bounce back from the opening session in the afternoon fourball matches later Saturday.

Eight more foursome and fourball matches will be played on Sunday, with 12 concluding singles matches on Monday.