Solheim Cup 2019: Europe take slender 4½-3½ lead over United States after day one

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2019 Solheim Cup: Europe v United States
Venue: Gleneagles, Scotland Dates: 13-15 September
Coverage: Full live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app followed by an hour-long highlights show on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online

Europe will take a 4½-3½ lead over the United States into the second day of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.

England’s Charley Hull and Bronte Law both missed putts on the 18th that resulted in their afternoon fourball matches being halved.

Amy McDonald and Angel Yin matched the biggest fourball victory with a 7&5 demolition of Swedish pair Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.

On a blustery day, American Lizette Salas was warned twice for slow play.

Lizette Salas

Salas, playing with Danielle Kang against Suzann Pettersen and Anne van Dam in the first of the afternoon fourball matches, was put on the clock as they took three hours to play the front nine.

The Solheim Cup schedule suggested the fourball matches should take no longer than four hours and 35 minutes. The clock was stopped at five hours and 11 minutes when Europe won 4&2 on the 16th hole.

Salas would have lost a hole if she had received a third ticking off.

And Europe captain Catriona Matthew said: “Both sides have players who don’t play as quickly as you might like but the officials police the pace so it’s up to them. Ideally it would be nicer to be faster on Saturday.”

The victory was largely down to the superb form of debutant Van Dam, who had three birdies in four holes to put Europe four up after nine.

Wildcard pick Pettersen, who is ranked outside the top 600 in the world and has been ill this week, contributed with a monster birdie putt to win the fourth.

Team Europe's Bronte Law

Rollercoaster rides

England’s Bronte Law and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda picked up a point from two fascinating matches.

Law seemed to revel in the boisterous atmosphere on the first tee, encouraging yet louder cheers before hitting Europe’s opening shot of the 16th staging of this biennial event.

The European pair briefly led their alternate shot foursomes match against Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex but needed a Ciganda 30-footer to win the 17th as they halved the match.

Captain Catriona Matthew kept faith with the pair for the afternoon fourballs and they had a similarly titanic battle with Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson.

None of the first seven holes were halved and the match was finely poised at all square after 12 but Europe bogeys at the next two holes put the US two up with four to play.

However, Stockport’s Law holed a 25-footer on the 15th, punching the air and letting out a roar, as she halved the deficit, while a Thompson bogey on the 16th saw the match return to all square.

Ciganda, as she had done in the morning, drained a birdie putt on the 17th to put the Europeans one up with one to play.

But both the Europeans missed putts to win the match and Thompson holed from 15 feet to win the hole and halve the match.

Hull and Munoz slip up late on

Charley Hull (right) and Azahara Munoz (left)

Hull and Munoz took on American debutants Megan Khang and Annie Park in the morning foursomes. The Europeans took the first hole and never trailed in a match they won 2&1 with a par on the short 17th.

Sent out again for the afternoon fourballs, Hull won three holes and Munoz two as they went four up with six to play against Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare.

But Altomare birdied three of the next four holes to chop the lead in half.

Korda then hit the pin on the par-three 17th and tapped in to win the hole after Hull missed a four-foot birdie attempt.

On the last, neither Munoz or Hull could match Altomare’s birdie as the Americans secured a half point.

“It was a little disappointing to not win the Hull and Munoz match but it’s not like we lost,” said Matthew. “The Americans birdied the last two. Overall, we’re pleased to be leading and we’re off to a great start.”

England’s Georgia Hall, playing with France’s Celine Boutier in the morning session, picked up Europe’s first full point.

They were two holes ahead after nine, extended their lead with a birdie on the par-three 10th and went four clear despite bogeying the par-four 12th.

The US hit back with a birdie on the 14th and Altomare holed a gutsy 20-footer to win the 16th but Thompson was unable to match that from similar distance on the 17th and Boutier rolled in from four feet to secure a 2&1 win.

Big wins for the US

Jessica and Nelly Korda

The Korda sisters, Jessica and Nelly, demolished Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff 6&4 to win the first point of the 2019 Solheim Cup.

Jessica, 26, and Nelly, 21, had to convince US captain Juli Inkster to play them together in the foursomes and proved themselves by moving five up after just seven holes to put their match quickly beyond the misfiring Europeans.

In the fourballs, Yin and McDonald, playing as a late replacement for the injured Stacey Lewis, got off to a similarly fast start with five birdies on the front nine to go five up. Further birdies on the 10th and 11th put them out of sight and they were only denied a record-breaking win by Nordqvist’s birdie on the 12th.

Solheim Cup Saturday Foursomes

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