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Day one of Solheim Cup: Europe claim narrow lead over United States

UK Sport | Published:

Suzann Pettersen starred for Europe after earning a wild card spot.

Suzann Pettersen justified her controversial selection and silenced Danielle Kang into the bargain as Europe had to settle for a slender 4.5 – 3.5 lead after the opening day of the 16th Solheim Cup.

Pettersen had played just twice since November 2017 when she was handed a wild card by captain Catriona Matthew, since when she finished 59th in the CP Women’s Open and missed the cut in the Cambia Portland Classic.

However, the 38-year-old Norwegian produced the goods when it mattered as she partnered rookie Anne Van Dam to a 4&2 victory over Kang and Lizette Salas before a dramatic climax to the afternoon fourballs.

After Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall suffered a record-equalling 7&5 loss to Ally McDonald and Angel Yin, Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law fought back from two down with four to play to take the lead up the 18th against Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda, only for Thompson to make birdie and snatch half a point.

And there was more disappointment for the home side in the final match as Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz were unable to convert a four-hole lead with six to play against Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare, who birdied five of the holes and saw Korda almost make a hole-in-one on the 17th.

Social media highlight of the day

European wild card Suzann Pettersen shows off her dance moves ahead of her afternoon fourball match alongside Anne van Dam

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Shot of the day

Nelly Korda hit the pin with her tee shot to the par-three 17th to set up a tap-in birdie as she and partner Brittany Altomare came from four down with six to play to halve their match with Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz.

Star performer

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Nelly Korda is making her debut in the event but the 21-year-old performed superbly, partnering elder sister Jessica to a 6&4 victory in the foursomes and then helping fellow rookie Brittany Altomare to claim half a point in the fourballs.

Quote of the day

“I mean, this girl, I think she is the best golfer I’ve ever seen on the women’s side. And today she just was absolutely a rock star.” – Suzann Pettersen is full of praise for rookie partner Anne Van Dam after their fourballs win.

What’s on tomorrow?

Four more foursomes matches and four more fourballs mean eight points are up for grabs, with 12 singles to decide the outcome on Sunday.

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