LPGA: Team USA sweeps fourball, leads after Day 1 at Solheim Cup

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange
Lizette Salas and Team USA fared well at the Solheim Cup on Friday. Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI
Lizette Salas and Team USA fared well at the Solheim Cup on Friday. Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

Team USA got a huge boost from Angel Yin and Lizette Salas and swept the fourball matches on the way to a 5 1/2-2 1/2 lead over Team Europe after the first day of play in the 15th Solheim Cup on Friday at Des Moines Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Yin, a first-time Cup player, and Salas, who's playing for the second time, rolled past Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Emily Pedersen of Denmark 6 and 5 with the match ending on the 13th hole when it was halved by pars from all four players.


Salas had five birdies on her scorecard through nine holes -- the Unites States never trailed in the match and was 4 up at the turn -- and a Yin birdie on the 12th hole proved to be the winner for Team USA.

Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang also dominated in fourball, beating Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom and England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff 3 and 1 in a match the Americans led from start to finish. The finishing stroke came on a birdie by Kang on the 17th hole after she staked Team USA to a 2 up lead on the 16th. Wie birdied the first two holes to get the team off to a great start.


Team USA's Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang added the third match win of the afternoon, defeating Florentyna Parker of England and Caroline Masson of Germany, 3 and 2.

That match was all square through the first four holes before a Lincicome eagle on the par-5 fifth propelled the Americans to the lead. Lang birdied the 14th to stretch the advantage to 4 up and -- after a Masson birdie on the 15th -- the match ended when all four players parred the 16th.

The Americans swept the fourball when Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller outlasted the English duo of Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, 2 and 1. Lewis had a birdie on the 17th to close out the match, one in which Team USA never trailed.

In the morning session of foursome (alternate shot) matches Team Europe's won two of the four competitions and halved a third to take a 2 1/2-1 1/2 point lead.

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and Hall posted the most decisive win of the morning matches, beating Americans Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, 3 and 1. The Europeans never trailed in the match and were 1 up through 15 before winning 16 and 17 to finish off the win.


Team Europe also garnered another full point when Catriona Matthew of Scotland and Karine Icher of Germany beat Team USA's Lewis and Piller, 1 up. Piller had a chance to halve the match on the 18th hole but missed a par putt.

The Americans only win of the first day's morning session came when Kang and Salas beat Ciganda and Masson, 1 up. Kang made a putt for par on 18 to halve the hole and win the match.

The fourth match of the morning needed a rousing comeback from Team USA's Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr to earn a halve with Team Europe's Mel Reid and Hull.

Kerr and Thompson eagled the opening hole (a drivable par 4) to take a 1-up lead but Reid and Hull fought back and were 2 up with two to play. Kerr and Thompson then finished par-birdie to win both holes and halve the match.

The teams return to the course Saturday morning for another round of foursomes and afternoon of fourball matches. Sunday's final session consists of 12 singles matches when all 12 players from each team participate.


With a total of 28 points, 14 1/2 points are required to win the Cup, and 14 points are required for the defending champion, in this case, Team USA, to retain the Cup. All matches are played to a maximum of 18 holes. If the score is even after 18 holes, each team earns one-half point.

NOTES: The matches are being competed on a composite course pulled from the best holes on Des Moines Country Club's two Pete Dye-designed tracks. ... The course is playing at 6,894 yards and to a par of 73, but that latter number is insignificant since this is a match-play competition with holes awarded to the players with the few strokes per hole. ... Team USA is seeking to win consecutive Solheim Cups for the first time since 2007 and 2009. ... The U.S. leads Europe 9-5 all-time in Solheim Cup competition following their historic comeback win in 2015 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in Germany. The Americans trailed 10-6 heading into Sunday's singles matches in 2015 and overcame the largest deficit in the event's history, winning 8 1/2 points in the final session, capturing the title with a score of 14 1/2-13 1/2, the closest score in the history of the Cup.


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