Solheim Cup Blog: Day 2

By Conor Bates

Day 2 began with the Europeans attempting to build on their miniscule lead of one shot, established the day before. They would need to banish any hangover of the missed opportunities from yesterday if they were to strengthen their position before the final day, while the Americans were bolstered by a hard grafted performance on day one, which helped them to recover some points in the climax of the evening.

In the morning foursomes session, Sophie Gustafson was placed with Caroline Hedwall again, and their domination continued. After their 5&4 victory yesterday in the four-ball session, this selection was a no-brainer for European captain Alison Nicholas. The two seem to share a telepathic relationship as a pairing and they raced to 4-up through 8 holes. A truly vintage display of power and prominence saw them take a dormie-6 lead by the 12th hole. Their US counterparts Angela Stanford and rookie Stacy Lewis could do nothing to stymie the hurricane that was annihilating their round, and the Europeans recorded the win on the 13th hole, 6&5, and first blood to Europe.

Karen Stupples lined up beside rookie, and first ever Dutch competitor in Solheim Cup history, Christel Boeljon, against a formidable pairing of putting sensation Morgan Pressel and potential US MVP candidate, Ryann O’Toole. Both teams conducted themselves well on the course but the Americans were in unmatchable form as they established a one hole lead through 9, which included an eagle on the par-5 7th hole. The American duo took control on the back nine and went on to win by 3 holes.

Nordqvist’s 11th putt

Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang reunited for another crack at the foursomes session: they were beaten by one hole the day before, by northern Europeans Pettersen and Gustafson. They quickly found themselves chasing a different Scandinavian pairing, Hjorth and Nordqvist, who were never behind in the match and went on to win by 3 holes. Their round included an impressive eagle at the par-5 12th hole.

After a convincing day one performance Catriona Matthew and Azahara Munoz were selected to face an all-star pairing of Christie Kerr and Paula Creamer. The Americans posted the second eagle of the day, and the tournament, on the 7th hole: a homage to their teammates earlier feat. In the closest match of the morning, level for most of the round, both sides had to dig deep to find the performance needed to best their opponents. A remarkable putt from off the green by Kerr gave the US the lead on the 13th hole but her 25 foot effort was cancelled out by an immaculate 16th hole birdie from the Europeans. A dramatic finish on the 18th saw Kerr miss from a reasonable distance before Munoz sunk a par to halve the match.

Again the galleries were very in good form throughout the day, and their enthusiasm and encouragement seemed to spur their respective teams on, as both sides produced another good day of golf, surrounded by a positive atmosphere. Nearly 30,000 fans packed into Killeen Castle to view the goings-on on the second day, with the third day expected to draw an even greater volume.

Ryan O’Toole’s Tee Shot

With the score now 7-5 to Europe, the afternoon four-balls commenced. Again Melissa Reid and Laura Davies were sent out as the European forerunners, being met by Lang and Michelle Wie. Davies showed why she has been a staple of European golf since 1985 by shooting 4 birdies in the opening 7 holes. Michelle Wie was misfiring again, and even an eagle from Lang, again at the 7th, wasn’t enough to keep them in the contest. With an eagle from Reid at the 12th and a solid day’s graft by the pair, Europe took the first point of the evening, 4&3 on the 15th, when Davies almost holed from her approach shot.

Pettersen combined with Hedwall to take on the mighty team of Pressel and Kerr. In a tough contest, played very slowly by all involved, the American side went on to win by 1 hole.

An all-rookie affair saw Sandra Gal and Christel Boeljon face off against Stacy Lewis and Ryann O’Toole in the third competition of the evening, while Hjorth and Munoz battled Creamer and Brittany Lincicome in the final duel. O’Toole played well throughout, once again stating her credentials as one of the USA’s top golfers, but it was her partner who delivered the seemingly mandatory eagle on the 7th. There was no fault or error from the Europeans who were simply bested by two very promising golfers in O’Toole and Lewis, who created a late lead and went on to capture a point, 2&1 on the 17th.

Inkster lining up

In the final matchup there were again eagles on the 7th. Both Maria Hjorth and Brittany Lincicome carded 3’s on the very receptive par 5, bringing the total number of eagles across the day to 8, across the course. In another stern battle, the European side fell short after some dynamic play from both Creamer and Lincicome. The Americans again left it late

After another exciting day of eagles, tense matches and some sparkling play all-round, the scores have been levelled, at 8-8, by some sharp USA performances in the second four-ball session. America are now right back in the game, and hitting their stride as a team. Europe are still in good position to win the tournament and upset the bookmakers’ odds, but with 12 singles bouts on the cards for tomorrow, there is still a lot of golf to be played before the fate of the Solheim Cup is decided.