Europe off to a dream start at the Solheim Cup in Ohio as Leona Maguire and Mel Reid inflict first defeat on the Korda sisters amid last-hole heroics
- Europe gave up just a half-point in the opening series of four foursomes matches
- It was the best result that Europe have achieved in the first series since 2000
- All four matches went to the closing hole — and Europe won it each time
Europe got off to a dream start at the Solheim Cup, giving up just a half-point in the opening series of four foursomes matches, including a first defeat for the Korda sisters, Jess and world number one Nelly.
It was the best result that Europe have achieved in the first series since sweeping the Americans at Loch Lomond in 2000.
For four hours there had barely been a ball width between the two teams but all that changed dramatically at the 18th at the Inverness club in Toledo, Ohio. All four matches went to the closing hole — and Europe won it each time to give the morning play a completely different complexion than had seemed likely.
Leona Maguire (L) and Mel Reid (R) beat the Korda sisters, Jess and world number one Nelly
First up was the Open champion Anna Nordqvist, sent out first as so often in the past and she typically delivering alongside her gifted rookie partner, Matilda Castren from Finland. The real bonus came next, where Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier had been two down for most of their match against Ally Ewing and Megan Khang.
Hall then holed a gutsy 20ft putt at the 17th before being gifted a half-point at the finish as the Americans bogeyed the last, Ewing missing from no more than 6ft. It was the first time that Hall and Boutier had been level since they teed off at the first.
Surely the Korda sisters, touted as invincible in some quarters in the build-up after demolishing the opposition at Gleneagles in 2019, would come to America’s rescue? Not this time.
Charley Hull and partner Emily Pedersen played some fabulous golf over the back nine
They were almost comically bad and really should have been put out of their misery long before the 18th. Appropriately, it was exciting debutant Leona Maguire, Ireland’s first Solheim representative and who had been the dominant partner alongside Mel Reid, who holed the winning putt.
The best match quality-wise was the anchor one, where Charley Hull and her Danish partner Emily Pedersen played some fabulous golf over the back nine, registering six birdies during that stretch including one at the 18th that saw them close out Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare by one hole.
‘It was an amazing turnaround, because for nine holes it looked as if the Americans were getting all the breaks,’ said Europe captain Catriona Matthew.
‘But it all went our way late on to make it a fantastic start.’
As at the Ryder Cup, the opening series was followed by four fourballs matches.
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