"I couldn't have asked for a better start to my Solheim career," remarked Leona Maguire, and - in truth - her perfection has shone like a beacon for Europe through the first three sessions of the match against the United States at Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Maguire -teaming up with Mel Reid - made it three wins from three, in again taking the scalp of world number one Nelly Korda along with Ally Ewing, on a 5 and 4 scoreline.
However, elsewhere, the American fightback materialised. And when the silence turned to loud roars from the partisan home crowd as the USA revival gained momentum, it was the home team who took the Sunday foursomes (3-1) to close the overall gap on Europe’s lead to one point, 6½ to 5½.
All to play for, so, with one further session of fourballs and Monday’s 12 singles set to make for a tense finale to a match in which Maguire has been the standout player.
All aspects of Maguire’s game has been in top order, from driving to iron play to her wonderful putting. As Reid, a veteran of the Solheim Cup, put it after again producing a winning point with the Co Cavan golfer: “I’m just very, very impressed with her, honestly. That grit and determination is second to none. I mean, it’s been an honour playing with her the last few days.”
The Maguire-Reid partnership took the initiative immediately against the younger of the Korda sisters and Ewing and the emotion shown by Maguire in closing out the match on the 14th green was in contrast with the cool, collected and calm way she had performed from tee-to-green up to that point.
Of that match up, a surprise on given that neither Maguire nor Reid had never met before the team came together in Toledo, the Irish golfer said: “I think it was a pairing neither of us saw coming, but the captains obviously saw something in us that we didn’t see in ourselves, and I think we’re both fearless on the golf course, which is something you need to be in those matches, especially given the pairings we were up against. I mean, Nelly and Jessica yesterday Nelly and Ally today, world-class players, and we really had to be on our “A” game to come out with a point.”
While Maguire - with three wins from three - and Reid did their job in enabling Europe to retain the overall lead, it was an American comeback in the other three foursomes: Georgia Hall and Madelen Sagstrom lost on the 18th to Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst; Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen lost by 2 and 1 to Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altamore; while Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren lost 3 and 1 to Lis Salas and Jennifer Kupcho.