If you knew what was good for you, you would have been watching Solheim Cup matches held at Killeen Castle, where the USA staged an impassioned comeback to win Saturday’s afternoon fourball session 3-1 to tie Europe 8-8 going into Sunday’s singles.
Some highlights and must-read articles from scribes reporting in Ireland:
*Yes, we know the pace of play was atrocious, but to be fair, it’s not much faster at the Ryder Cup. What’s important is the golf was still intriguing and I could feel the energy in Ireland all the way from Atlanta! That said, it wouldn’t hurt to pick it up a bit.
*Kudos to Golf Channel for extending the TV coverage of the matches instead of turning the coverage over to the Tour Championship.
*After watching controversial American captain’s pick Ryann O’Toole during Saturday afternoon’s fourballs, I’m impressed and a fan — her smile and energy are contagious!
*Paula Creamer is leading the American rally again. From Baldry’s report: “Creamer’s 71.85 winning percentage coming into Ireland was the highest in U.S. team history among members with two or more appearances. This week she’s 2-0-1.”
*Follow one of my favorite people and scribes @MattCooperGolf for the best Twitter coverage.
SATURDAY PM FOURBALLS
*Laura Davies passed Annika Sorenstam’s record to become the all-time Solheim Cup points scorer when Davies and Melissa Reid beat Americans Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie 4 and 3 in the afternoon fourballs.
*The Americans rallied in the afternoon fourball matches, winning three of the four matches.
Brittany Lang & Michelle Wie defeated by Laura Davies & Mel Reid 4&3
Morgan Pressel & Cristie Kerr 1-up over Suzann Pettersen & Caroline Hedwal
Stacy Lewis & Ryan O’Toole 2&1 over Sandra Gal & Christel Boeljon
Paula Creamer & Brittany Lincicome 3&1 over Maria Hjorth & Azahara Munoz
SATURDAY AM FOURSOMES
*Spanish rookie and fan darling Azahara Munoz holed a par putt on the 18th to contribute to Europe’s 7-5 lead over the U.S. From the AP:
Americans Cristie Kerr and Paul Creamer went 1 up on Munoz and Scotland’s Catriona Matthew in the final match of the morning foursomes when Kerr birdied the 17th.
But Kerr bunkered her approach to the last and couldn’t save par from 12 feet, allowing the Europeans to halve the match with a winning par and double Europe’s overnight lead to two points.
“I was just thinking I couldn’t let Catriona down,” the 23-year-old Munoz said of her pressure-packed 3-footer at the last. “We had been fighting so hard all day. I just said I’ve hit a million balls like this, so I just focused and I hit it.”
*Caroline Hedwall with twin sister Jacquleine, as her caddie, playing with veteran Sophie Gustafson pounded Americans Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford 6&5 in Saturday morning foursomes. Via Alistair Tait’s story:
Stanford and Lewis didn’t make a single birdie, and were 5 over for the 13 holes they played. That doesn’t get the job done in match play, especially when the opposition are 3 under par.
“You can’t really be aggressive when you play foursomes,” said Hedwall, who is unbeaten in two matches. “We tried to play smart instead and just try to make our pars. We managed to do that.”
Asked about the key to their success, Hedwall replied. “Just hitting a lot of greens. We can’t make a many mistakes if we want to beat them. That’s the key.”
The Swedish pair didn’t need to make many mistakes. Their American opposition was pretty hapless, especially Lewis. No wonder many were surprised when U.S. captain Rosie Jones selected her for the afternoon four-ball session.
*Morgan Pressel and Ryann O’Toole beat Karen Stupples and Christel Boeljon 3-and-2 in Saturday morning foursomes. “First thing I told her (Ryann) is we’re not losing this match,” said Pressel in the post-match presser. “No matter what happens, we’re not going to lose. We hadn’t played together before. We hadn’t practiced together. But just hit it down the middle, fairways and greens, like you do. She made a great shot on 14, and a great shot on 15.”
O’Toole added: “I put it on the fairway. She hit it on the green. We just made a good partnership.”
*Skeptics questioned U.S. captain Rosie Jones’ decision to pick Ryann O’Toole, but the rookie proved she was worthy on Friday afternoon fourballs. From Golfweek‘s Beth Ann Baldry’s story:
O’Toole and Kim found themselves 2 down with four to play in the afternoon four-ball session but clawed back to square the match against the more subdued pairing of Catriona Matthew and Sandra Gal. Half-points are sacred in this event, and Europe leads 4.5-3.5 after the opening day.
“She proved herself as one of Rosie’s picks; there’s no question,” Kim said.
The match featured 14 birdies between the four players, with Matthew pouring in four consecutive on Nos. 6-9 to build the 2-up advantage for Europe. Kim, who played in her too-cool-for-school shades despite the absence of sun, unleashed a memorable fist-pump on the 16th after pouring in a birdie to bring the match to 1 up. O’Toole followed with a dramatic birdie on the 17th, taking them to the par-4 18th all square.
SUNDAY SINGLES LINE-UP
So pumped for these matches! — should be a good one. Golf Channel will provide seven hours of coverage, beginning at 5am.