US storm back in Solheim Cup

New York (AFP) –


The United States stormed back into contention at the Solheim Cup on Sunday, winning three of the four morning foursomes to move within one point of defending champions Europe.

After being outplayed on Saturday as Europe surged into the lead, the US women rallied superbly on Sunday to come from behind and change the complexion of the contest, leaving Europe with a slender 6 1/2 to 5 1/2 point lead heading into the afternoon fourballs.

The European pairings led all four matches early Sunday and looked poised to take a stranglehold on the competition in perfect conditions at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

Irish rookie Leona Maguire and England's Mel Reid made an ominous start for the Europeans, racing away to inflict a 5&4 win over world number one Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing, leaving Europe four points clear.

But Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst led the US fightback against Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom, recovering from falling two down in the opening two holes to secure a battling win.

Hall and Sagstrom led 1-up after 10 holes, but back-to-back birdies by Kang and Ernst on the 13th and 14th holes put them ahead, and they finished with four straight pars to hang on for the point.

"It was huge," Ernst said. "We knew we needed to get a point for the team and get it turned early. We knew they send us out first for a reason."

The momentum shift gathered pace in Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare's duel with England's Charley Hull and Denmark's Emily Pedersen.

Hull and Pedersen led by one hole after four, but the US duo restored parity with a birdie on the seventh, and then went ahead when the European pair bogeyed the eighth.

Thompson and Altomare retained a slender 1-up advantage heading to the 17th, and when Pedersen and Hull parred it looked as if the match would be settled on the 18th.

But a magnificent long birdie putt from Thompson on 17 won the hole to give the Americans a 2&1 victory, electrifying the large crowd gathered around the green.

"Britt got me into a perfect spot and I happened to roll it in," Thompson said afterwards.

A superb morning for the Americans got better when Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho staged an irresistible late rally to down Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren 3&1.

Nordqvist and Castren led 2-up after seven holes, but Salas and Kupcho won the 14th, 15th and 16th holes to take a two up lead and then Solheim Cup rookie Kupcho drained a long birdie putt on 17 to complete the win.

"I definitely live for this," Kupcho said. "Hearing the crowd roar, I love the sound of it. I'll just keeping doing it hopefully."