Europe won 2.5 points in the afternoon fourballs to take a two-point advantage into Monday’s singles, bolstering their hopes of claiming back-to-back Solheim Cup wins and only their second ever on American soil.
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 05/09/21 11:47pm
Team Europe overcame a Sunday charge from a resilient American side to take a 9-7 lead heading into the final day of the Solheim Cup.
Catriona Matthew’s side saw their overnight three-point advantage fade when the hosts won three of the four morning foursomes matches at the Inverness Club, with a rejuvenated Team USA then briefly leading three of the afternoon fourballs.
Rookie duo Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae turned their advantage into a 3&1 victory over Celine Boutier and Sophia Popov in the opening fourball match to temporarily level the overall score, only for Europe to win two and halve one of the other three fixtures and edge the afternoon session.
Carlota Ciganda and rookie Nanna Koerstz Madsen claimed a narrow win over world No 1 Nelly Korda and Megan Khang, while Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen saw off Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst 4&2 to ensure the visitors would lead going into the final day.
A late half-point for unbeaten duo Mel Reid and Leona Maguire extended Europe’s advantage to two points ahead of Monday’s singles, where five points will be enough to retain the Solheim Cup and five and a half points would secure just their second win on American soil in the tournament’s history.
Popov and Boutier lost to Noh and Harigae 3&1
Harigae posted back-to-back birdies from the second to win those holes for Team USA, before holing a 20-footer to grab a share of the spoils at the eighth and converting from even further out to birdie the next and put the hosts three ahead at the turn.
Popov made a long-range birdie at the 10th, fired her tee shot at the 12th to tap-in range and then won the par-five next hole to pull the contest level, only for Harigae to edge back ahead when she came close to holing out at the par-four next.
Noh made a 10-foot birdie at the 16th to put the USA ahead with two to play, while the first point of the afternoon fourballs was confirmed when neither European player could birdie the 17th.
Ciganda and Madsen def Korda and Khang 1up
Korda holed an eagle putt from the fringe at the second but saw Europe move back level with a birdie at the fourth, before the visitors edged back ahead when Madsen walked in a 20-foot birdie at the seventh.
Team USA claimed the eighth hole with a birdie and Khang chipped in from off the green for a winning par at the ninth to put them one ahead at the turn, but Madsen responded with a 12-foot birdie at the par-three 12th.
Ciganda nailed a 30-footer at the 15th to move Europe back ahead and rattled in from eight feet to match Korda’s birdie at the next, with a par at the last to cling on for a significant victory.
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Maguire and Reid halved with Kupcho and Salas
Maguire holed a six-foot birdie at the first and matched Salas’ two at the par-three third, only for the American to birdie the next and a par to be enough to win the sixth hole.
Europe pulled level when Maguire almost holed out with her approach into the ninth and left a kick-in birdie, before Kupcho started her back nine with a monster birdie and added another at the next to briefly take Team USA two clear.
Reid drained a 20-footer at the 12th and Europe won the 15th with a par, pulling the contest level, before Maguire converted a clutch 15-footer to share the next hole. Kupcho claimed the 17th hole, only for Reid to make the most of a fortunate bounce off the back of a bunker to birdie the 18th.
Hull and Pedersen def Ernst and Kang 3&2
Ernst birdied the fifth to give Team USA the early advantage, before Pedersen made a four-foot par to win the seventh and fired his approach at the par-five eight to inside 10 feet to make eagle.
Hull rolled in from close range to match Ernst’s birdie at the tenth and picked up another shot at the next to take Europe two ahead, with Pedersen following it up with a 20-foot birdie at the 12th to help the visitors to their first of two wins in the session.