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All square after Day 1 of Solheim Cup

EDINA, Minn., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Meg Mallon made eight birdies in her afternoon match and rookie Laura Diaz made six Friday to help rally the United States and bring about a 4-4 tie with Europe after the opening day of the Solheim Cup.

The Europeans, trying to win on American soil for the first time, took a 3-1 advantage after the morning foursomes. But the United States won three of the four afternoon fourball matches to set up the prospect of a thrilling duel on the weekend.

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Europe is also trying to win back-to-back competitions for the first time after capturing the cup two years ago in Scotland.

Mallon teamed with Michele Redman in the afternoon to defeat Annika Sorenstam, the world's best player, and Maria Hjorth, 3 & 1. In the key match of the afternoon, things were all square going to the par-3 15th before the Americans won three holes in a row.

"When you play against the best player in the world, you have to bring your best game," said Mallon, who birdied the 15th and 16th to give the United States the lead. "It was one of the better matches I've ever been a part of."

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Diaz paired with fellow Solheim Cup rookie Emilee Klein to defeat Sophie Gustafson and Karine Icher, 4 & 3. And Rosie Jones rolled in a five-foot birdie putt at the 18th as she teamed with Christie Kerr for a 1-up win over Laura Davies and Paula Marti. The Jones-Kerr team owned a 4-up lead at the turn and then had to hold on.

The lone European victory of the afternoon came with Mhari McKay and Carin Koch defeated Juli Inkster and Kelli Kuehne, 3 & 2.

"You never know what is going to happen," said European captain Dale Reid. "I guess after the first day, 4-4 is a good way to have it. I think this is all about putting and the Americans out-putted us in the afternoon."

It marked the first time in the history of the Solheim Cup that the teams have been tied after the opening day.

The Europeans dominated in the morning with Sorenstam and Koch defeating Mallon and Kuehne, 3 & 2; Helen Alfredsson and Suzann Pettersen winning over Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst, 4 & 2; and Davies and Marti outlasting Inkster and Diaz, 2-up.

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Americans Beth Daniel and Wendy Ward kept the morning matches from being a disaster by pulling out a 1-up victory over Iben Tinning and Raquel Carriedo.

Eight more team matches are scheduled for Saturday and 12 singles matches will be played Sunday at the Interlachen Country Club.

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