by Jeff Skinner
After two days of exciting, back and forth golf the US and Europe are tied at 8-8 going into the final day of The Solheim Cup. Europe fought back during Saturdays Four-ball outing to grab one more point than the Americans and tie the match. The afternoon Foursomes (alternate shot) had two blowouts and two matches that went the distance. The previously undefeated Creamer/Inkster team lost 4 & 3 to Gustafson/Moodie and Gulbis/Kim were beaten soundly by Brewerton/Nocera 5 & 4. The US was able to salvage a tie by winning the other two matches. In what was a battle of the longest hitters out there versus two of the shorter hitters on tour, McPherson/Pressel took down Pettersen/ Alfredsson. That had to be the upset of the day. Those two Europeans are much longer than the Americans but McPherson/Pressel hung on to the lead they had gained on the third hole and went on to beat them two up. In the final match of the day, a twelve hour day, Kerr/Wie played just good enough to beat Nordqvist/Hjorth. Kerr hit some uncharacteristic shots over the last few holes. On seventeen she hit her approach in the lake and on eighteen her drive found the fairway after hitting a tree. In her first Solheim Cup Michelle Wie has stepped up and performed well under pressure. She recovered from Kerr’s loose shots and the two of them were able to match the Euros over the last two holes and hold on to win 1 up. Wie has blossomed in the brightest spotlight in women’s golf. She was sticking her irons and seemed to be dropping every putt. Wie was alternating between cheerleading and playing her shots. It is obvious she is enjoying herself and at the same time earning the best record (2-0-1) on the American team.
There are plenty of surprises on these two teams. For the Europeans their star is relative unknown Gwladys Nocera who is 3-0. Rookie Anna Nordqvist and Becky Brewerton are 2-1 and Maria Hjorth is 2-1-1. Most surprising is the lack of points from its top stars. Suzan Pettersen is 1-3 and Helen Alfredsson is 1-2. Europe was expecting more from its marquee players.
On the US side the player with the best record may be the most surprising. Captain’s pick Michelle Wie is 2-0-1 and looking very comfortable in the team format. She has embraced this team and they have done the same. Stalwarts Creamer, Kerr and Kim are 2-1, along with Angela Stanford.
It couldn’t get any closer for the teams when they tee off in the singles matches. Both Captains have sent out their big guns first. Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen will face off in the opening match followed by Becky Brewerton versus Angela Stanford. Then two long ballers will go at it. The experience of Helen Alfredsson will face the enthusiasm of rookie Michelle Wie. It has the makings of a classic match and a thrilling end to a great competition.
Here are the singles matchups:
11:05 a.m. ET – Suzann Pettersen vs. Paula Creamer
11:15 a.m. ET – Becky Brewerton vs. Angela Stanford
11:25 a.m. ET – Helen Alfredsson vs. Michelle Wie
11:35 a.m. ET – Laura Davies vs. Brittany Lang
11:45 a.m. ET – Gwladys Nocera vs. Juli Inkster
11:55 a.m. ET – Catriona Matthhew vs. Kristy McPherson
12:05 p.m. ET – Sophie Gustafson vs. Brittany Lincicome
12:15 p.m. ET – Diana Luna vs. Nicole Castrale
12:25 p.m. ET – Tania Elosegui vs. Christina Kim
12:35 p.m. ET – Maria Hjorth vs. Cristie Kerr
12:45 p.m. ET – Anna Nordqvist vs. Morgan Pressel
12:55 p.m. ET – Janice Moodie vs. Natalie Gulbis