The United States left Europe in need of a miracle comeback as they took a five-point lead going into the final day of the Solheim Cup in Des Moines.
After retaining their three-point edge in the morning foursomes on day two, the Americans stretched their advantage in the afternoon by winning the fourballs 3-1.
They go into Sunday’s play leading 10 1/2 to 5 1/2, comfortably odds on to retain the cup as they need only 3 1/2 points from the 12 singles matches to come.
Europe need nine points, which would be the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history. The current record is that set by the Americans two years ago in Germany, when they came from four points down on the final day.
European captain Annika Sorenstram is not ready to throw in the towel just yet, and drew on her own experience when she became the first female player to shoot a 59 16 years ago.
“There have been a lot of comebacks in sports in general,” she said. “Let’s not just focus on just golf. Sports, and life in general. March 16, 2001, before I teed off, nobody had shot 59.
“I’m still the only one that’s done that. I know it’s possible. There are a lot of things I can bring up that’s possible. And history can be made. So, like I said, hope is the last thing that’s going to leave us and we’re determined. We didn’t fly these miles to not put up a fight. The fight is not over yet.”
Having swept the fourballs 4-0 on Friday afternoon, the Americans dominated once again on Saturday.
Anna Nordqvist and Jodi Ewart Shadoff beat Lizette Salas and Angel Yin 4&2 — despite Nordqvist still suffering the affects of a bout of glandular fever — but that was the sole bright spot for Europe as the Americans took the other three.
Salas sank a putt from 50-foot for a birdie on the fifth hole, but Nordqvist birdied the eighth and they went three clear with a birdie from Ewart Shadoff on the 14th. Salas narrowly missed an eagle on the 15th before Ewart Shadoff sealed the win with a birdie on the 17th.
“There were a lot of birdies out there, not just between me and Anna, but Lizette and Angel played great, too,” said Ewart Shadoff. “It was a lot of fun playing with Anna. We have very similar games. We were there for each other when we needed each other.”
Catriona Matthew and Georgia Hall lost 4&2 to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, Kerr's 19th career point in the Solheim Cup as she overtook the US record set by current captain Julie Inkster.
Karine Icher and Madelene Sagstrom lost 2&1 to Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, while the two Brittanys, Lang and Lincicome, beat Mel Reid and Carlota Ciganda 2up.
In the morning, the Americans retained their three-point lead as the foursomes ended two apiece.
Kerr and Thompson beat Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson 5&3, with Creamer and Ernst enjoying the same margin of victory over Reid and Emily Pedersen.
Nordqvist and Hall won 3&1 for Europe over Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, with Karine Icher and Matthew prevailing 2&1 again Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang.
Europe's Charley Hull was forced out of the fourballs owing to a wrist injury, but hopes to return for Sunday's singles matches.
“I just love where my players’ heads are at right now,” Inkster said. “They know — they haven’t said one thing in the locker room. They just were just all putting the team, the lineup together and asking everybody where they would like to fall, where they felt comfortable.
“So we’ve got our work cut out for us, and I know Annika’s team will not quit, so we’ll be ready for the task.”