It seems fitting that after two days of nerve racking team play, Team Europe and Team USA will decide the 2011 Solheim Cup during day three singles. Europe had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Americans after taking the Saturday morning foursomes 2.5-1.5 to extend to a 7-5 lead into the afternoon. After Laura Davies and Melissa Reid took down Michelle Wie and Brittany Lang, Europe was sitting on an 8-5 lead with a chance to blow it wide open. But the U.S. squad stormed back to take the last three afternoon fourball matches to even the score at 8-8 and give themselves a chance to capitalize on their strength in singles on Sunday.
My #1 star of the day is Morgan Pressel. A lot of people remember that Michelle Wie was terrific at the 2009 Solheim Cup in a sort of coming out party, going 3-0-1. However, Morgan was superb, and undefeated, as well in 2009 at 2-0-1. Morgan has kept her winning ways going in 2011. After being left out of Friday morning foursomes, she has been a winner in all 3 of her matches so far at Killeen Castle, including twice on Saturday. Not only has she delivered with her clubs, Morgan also was in Cristie Kerr’s ear following a shaky start in the afternoon fourball. Kerr picked it up, helping Morgan defeat the powerful duo of Suzann Pettersen and Caroline Hedwall.
The other American with 2 wins on Saturday is rookie Solheim member Ryann O’Toole, my #2 star. If there was one pick on the USA squad that I thought might be shaky, it was O’Toole. Au contraire. Ryann has been terrific. For any of the doubters about Rosie’s pick of Ryann, including me, exhibit A for her worth to the team is her 2-0-1 record over the first two days.
I was torn on my #3 pick. I really wanted to go with Laura Davies, who had her engine running in the afternoon match against Wie and Lang. But while she hit some beautiful shots, including some putts that had Dottie Pepper commenting that Laura looked like she was putting 20 years ago, Paula continued to be the rock of the American team. She’s been money. And closing out the final match of the day was hugely important. There is a big difference between being tied a 8-8 and being behind 8.5-7.5 or 9-7. By coming through in the final match to win, Paula and partner Brittany Lincicome in some ways have left the Americans with a two day tie on paper, but with the singles strength of the team almost feeling like they have a lead. It was a tough call to pick Paula over Laura, especially since Laura passed Annika Sorenstam as the leading Solheim Cup points winner with 24.5 to Annika’s 24. But in the long run, that final win by Paula and Brittany might just swing the momentum going into Sunday.
|Stanford/Lewis||6 and 5||Hedwall/Gustafson|
|Pressel/O’Toole||3 and 2||Stupples/Boeljon|
|Lang/Inkster||3 and 2||Hjorth/Nordqvist|
|Wie/Lang||4 and 3||Davies/Reid|
|Lewis/O’Toole||2 and 1||Gal/Boeljon|
|Creamer/Lincicome||3 and 1||Hjorth/Muñoz|