Europe grab early Solheim Cup lead

AFP, PARKER, Colorado

Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - Page 19

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, who plays mainly on the US-based LPGA Tour, helped lead Europe to a 5-3 lead on Friday after day one at the 2013 Solheim Cup.

Pettersen, and playing partner Beatriz Recari, won their morning foursomes match 2 and 1 over Americans Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford at the Colorado Golf Club.

Pettersen then turned around and teamed with Carlota Ciganda in the afternoon fourballs to beat the US’ Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson 1 and 0.

“A great start, I think it has worked out pretty well. It is just an amazing feeling,” said Pettersen, who has 11 wins on the LPGA Tour and six on the Ladies European Tour.

Pettersen carried her team in the afternoon session, but Ciganda was the key on one hole.

On the 15th, Ciganda was in the hazard to the right of the green. After almost 30 minutes to decide where she could drop her ball, Ciganda scrambled for a par. Lewis and Thompson failed to make their birdie attempts, to give the Europeans a halve on that hole.

“I didn’t play very good today,” Ciganda said. “Suzann had a great day out there. I’m just happy to win the point for Europe.”

Pettersen birdied the 16th to go one-up, then made a short par putt at the last to give herself and Ciganda the win.

Lang and Brittany Lincicome bested Anna Nordqvist and Giulia Sergas, 4 and 3. That was the third match out, but the first one to be completed in the afternoon fourballs.

“We just needed to get one at a time. We were down, obviously we lost the first hole, it was just one hole after the next and we didn’t want to let up on the gas after we got up a few holes,” Lincicome said.

Caroline Hedwall and Caroline Masson led wire-to-wire as they defeated Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller 2 and 1 in the second match out.

The US won the final match to climb within two points. Cristie Kerr and captain’s pick Michelle Wie held on for a 2 and 1 victory over Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull, who at just 17 became the youngest competitor in event history.

“I love match play and I love the Solheim Cup,” Wie said

“I just had a blast out here. My goal is to get them going. It’s just so much fun,” the 23-year-old said.