On paper, Team USA looked like the team to beat going into Solheim Cup 2011, and it might just turn out that way in the end, but on day one Team Europe threw down the gauntlet and showed they are in it to win it, leading the point total 4.5 to 3.5.
I am going to give three stars for each round. For day one, my #1 star goes to Suzann Pettersen. The Norweigan superstar teamed up with Sophie Gustafson to take down Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster in the morning and teamed up with Anna Nordqvist to beat Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie in the afternoon. This course favors big hitters, and Suzann can rip it with the best of them, but her best shot might have been a clutch 8-foot on 18 in the morning to clinch a 1-up victory over Lang and Inkster and even the morning matches at 2 points apiece.
My #2 star goes to Paula Creamer. She was really close to being my #1 star. Although Suzann ultimately took that title, Paula could get the #2 star and the Comeback Kid award for the day. In her morning pairing with Brittany Lincicome, she and Bam-Bam found themselves 2 down with four holes to play. But a birdie on 15 by Team USA and bogeys on 17 and 18 by the Team Europe pairing of Melissa Reid and Karen Stupples turned the match for the United States. Paula was also part of an afternoon comeback with partner Morgan Pressel. Once again, Melissa Reid, this time paired with Laura Davies, would fall to the Pink Panther as Team USA came back from 1-down with two holes to play.
I am going to cheat a little and give my #3 star to the team of Caroline Hedwall and Sophie Gustafson. Sophie won in both of her matches for Team Europe on day one. Sophie nailed a great putt on 3 in the morning, one of the best shots of the day. However, my favorite shot of the day was Cristie Kerr on 9 chipping in out of the sand in the morning match. Caroline played like anything but a Solheim Cup rookie. The European duo teamed up to torch American duo Vicky Hurst and Brittany Lincicome 5 and 4 in the afternoon. To be honest, Team USA is fortunate to only be down 1 point after day one. The European team had leads in matches that could have put Team USA is a big hole after day one. As it is, the American team had a few good comeback wins and one comeback halve. But I would not recommend depending on comebacks on day two and three.
Morning Results USA 2 – EUR 2
|Wie/Kerr||2 and 1||Hjorth/Nordqvist|
|Lewis/Stanford||3 and 2||Matthew/Muñoz|
USA 1.5 – EUR 2.5
|Hurst/Lincicome||5 and 4||Gustafson/Hedwall|