Quite literally, Europe – seeking a third straight success – were left with a mountain to climb after the United States inflicted a whitewash of defeats on the home team in the opening morning foursomes of this 18th edition of the Solheim Cup.
On the hilly terrain, the USA secured a first ever foursomes cleansweep with the giddy and expectant roars that had greeted European players on the first tee slowly and surely muted as the play progressed.
Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist at least managed to get the large galleries into Ole-Ole mood with late birdies in their match with Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz, the Cavan golfer holing birdie putts from 15 feet and 18 feet on the 16th (for a win) and 17th holes (for a halve) to head to the Par 5 18th hole one down and with lingering hope.
Each of those birdie putts were met with fist pumps into the air by Maguire as she energised the crowds and gave them something to shout about.
Nordqvist did have a 12 footer for birdie to win the hole and earn Europe a precious half-point, but the ball slipped by and then Corpuz coolly holed her four-footer for par to post a fourth point on the board after a foursomes session that went the USA’s way.
The USA pairing of Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang defeated Maja Stark and Linn Grant by 2 and 1 in the opening match; Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee came out on the right end of a ding-dong match with Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall to win on the 18th by one hole; while Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight were 5 and 4 winners of Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen.
“This is a tough walk, so even building a lead like that, and I think if you can get off the golf course as fast as possible, that’s ideal. We’re really excited and happy we could put that first point on the board. It’s a long way to Sunday, but this is a step in a good direction for us as a team,” said USA’s Ewing.
US captain Stacy lewis said: “You could not ask for much more, just seeing the pairings in those middle two matches, they were going to be tough and we saw a ton of fight from our girls. Fortunately we were on the right side.”
Hull has been troubled by a shoulder injury in the run-up to the tournament and was clearly affected with the result that Europe’s captain Suzann Pettersen left her out of the afternoon fourballs where Europe aimed to make some inroads in their fightback.
Maguire had a quick turnaround ahead of the fourballs, where she renewed her fourballs partnership of 2023 with Georgia Hall against Lexi Thompson and Lilia Vu.
Results: USA lead 4-0
Lexi Thompson/Megan Khang win 2&1 Linn Grant/Maja Stark
Danielle Kang/Andrea Lee win 1 up Celine Boutier/Georgia Hall
Nelly Korda/Allisen Corpuz win 1 up Leona Maguire/Anna Nordqvist
Cheyenne Knight/Ally Ewing win 5&4 Charley Hull/Emily Pedersen
Rose Zhang/Megan Khang v Gemma Dryburgh/Madelene Sagstrom
Lexi Thompson/Lilia Vu v Leona Maguire/Georgia Hall
Jennifer Kupcho/Allisen Corpuz v Emily Pedersen/Maja Stark
Angel Yin/Ally Ewing v Carlota Ciganda/Linn Grant