Khang birdies 2 to go two up against Popov in short order. The momentum was with Europe early doors; now itâ€™s the USA who have the wind behind.
Thompson A/S Nordqvist (8) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (7) Kupcho v Maguire 3UP (6) N Korda A/S Hall (6) Harigae v Boutier 1UP (5) Ernst A/S Koerstz Madsen (4) Salas A/S Castren (3) Altomare A/S Ciganda (2) 2UP Khang v Popov (2) 1UP Noh v Reid (1) J Korda v Hull USA 7-9 Europe
A bogey for yesterday eveningâ€™s hero Mel Reid on the opening hole. She goes one down against Yealimi Noh. Meanwhile disaster for Georgia Hall on 6. Sheâ€™s got a five footer to win the hole against Nelly Korda, but misses it on the low side, sending it three feet past. The one coming back lips out, and in a few seconds, with a couple of swishes of the putter, a possible two-hole lead turns into an all-square match. And more good news for the States in the lead match, where Thompson levels up against Nordqvist with birdie at 8 and a determined, defiant punch of the air.
Brittany Altomare becomes the latest player to trundle a sensational approach into 2 and tidy up for eagle with an insouciant swish of the putter. She levels her match with Carlota Ciganda. Meanwhile Mina Harigae canâ€™t hole out from the bunker at 5, and Celine Boutier gets her reward for nearly acing.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (7) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (6) Kupcho v Maguire 3UP (6) N Korda v Hall 1UP (5) Harigae v Boutier 1UP (5) Ernst A/S Koerstz Madsen (3) Salas A/S Castren (2) Altomare A/S Ciganda (2) 1UP Khang v Popov (1) Noh v Reid USA 7-9 Europe
Another birdie for Leona â€˜On Fireâ€™ Maguire. She sends her second at 6 over the flag to eight feet, and coolly steers in the putt. Jennifer Kupcho has been one of the undoubted stars of the week so far, and yet sheâ€™s got no answer for the brilliant Irish player. Sheâ€™s three down after six holes, having done very little wrong.
An opening birdie for Megan Khang, who immediately goes one up against Sophia Popov. Meanwhile itâ€™s nearly a hole in one for Celine Boutier on the par-three 5th. Straight at the flag, four little skips, and the ball stops 18 inches from the hole. Thatâ€™ll be conceded, and Mina Harigae will have to hole out from a bunker at the back to scramble an unlikely half.
European singles specialist Carlota Ciganda opens her match by going one up. Ally Ewing rattles in a 20-footer on 6 to salvage a half. Austin Ernst ties up her match with Nanna Madsen with birdie on 3. Anna Nordqvist bounces back against Lexi Thompson with birdie at 7. Nelly Korda pulls one back against Georgia Hall at the par-three 5th. And Lizette Salas has two putts for the win at 2. No problem, and sheâ€™s level with Matilda Castren again.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (7) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (6) Kupcho v Maguire 2UP (5) N Korda v Hall 1UP (5) Harigae A/S Boutier (3) Ernst A/S Koerstz Madsen (3) Salas A/S Castren (2) Altomare v Ciganda 1UP (1) Khang v Popov Noh v Reid USA 7-9 Europe
Imagine nearly making an albatross at the Solheim and not winning the hole, though. A half in eagle!
While that borderline psychedelic sequence of events on 2 was unfolding, other stories were developing nicely. Thompson has levelled her match with Nordqvist with par at 6. Maguire goes two up over Kupcho with birdie at 4. The usually dependable putter of Salas misfires on 1 to gift a hole to Castren. And Hall rakes in a long effort across 4 to double her lead over Nelly Korda. It is, to quote the great comedian London-based comedian Danny Boon, all happening.
Thompson A/S Nordqvist (6) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (5) Kupcho v Maguire 2UP (4) N Korda v Hall 2UP (4) Harigae A/S Boutier (3) Ernst v Koerstz Madsen 1UP (2) Salas v Castren 1UP (1) Altomare v Ciganda USA 7-9 Europe
Austin Ernst nearly holes the shot of the week – of the year?! – on the par-five 2nd. Coming out of the rough down the right, she bumps her second into the front of the green, the ball breaking to the left, gathering towards the flag. Itâ€™s one turn away from dropping for albatross. Amazing! But what happens next almost defies belief. Nanna Koerstz Madsen, from the semi on the left, creams her second straight at the flag. After a couple of bounces, the ball rolls towards the hole, threatening albatross as well! Her ball kisses Ernstâ€™s, snooker style, nearly cutting it into the hole. Madsenâ€™s goes the other way, stopping a couple of feet to the left. The quality of golf this week has been through the roof, but that was stratospheric. What a couple of shots! Appropriately, they tie the hole with eagles.
A chance for Mina Harigae to win 2 from six feet, but she pulls the putt. Her match with Celine Boutier remains all square. The crowd are a little subdued at the moment, and Nanna Koerstz Madsen winning her opening hole against Austin Ernst wonâ€™t help matters. Madsen can struggle with the old jangling nerves at times – see that heartbreaking shank from the bunker on the last at Carnoustie last month – so hopefully thatâ€™s a settler.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (5) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (4) Kupcho v Maguire 1UP (3) N Korda v Hall 1UP (3) Harigae A/S Boutier (2) Ernst v Koerstz Madsen 1UP (1) Salas v Castren USA 7-9 Europe
Thompson and Nordqvist share the spoils at 5. Lexi asks to see her opponentâ€™s two-footer, which on the one hand is an understandable demand, but also a bold tactic given her own propensity to miss short putts. The more reliable Nordqvist tidies up without fuss, and with the gauntlet having been thrown down early doors, may start asking to see a few tiddlers herself. Meanwhile Ewing regains the lead in match two, the first splash of red colour on the board.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (5) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (4) Kupcho v Maguire 1UP (3) N Korda v Hall 1UP (2) Harigae A/S Boutier (1) Ernst v Koerstz Madsen Salas v Castren USA 7-9 Europe
Nelly canâ€™t make her eagle putt, though. And so Hall, having wedged to four feet, tidies up for a half. Thatâ€™s an escape for Europe. But thereâ€™s relief for the US up on 3, where Maguire misses a par putt from four feet that would have put her two up.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (4) Ewing A/S Sagstrom (3) Kupcho v Maguire 1UP (3) N Korda v Hall 1UP (2) Harigae A/S Boutier (1) Ernst v Koerstz Madsen USA 7-9 Europe
Nelly digs something out before itâ€™s too late! Having sent a monster drive down the middle of 2, she caresses her second over the flag to ten feet. What a shot! Thatâ€™s a superb eagle opportunity, while Hall isnâ€™t on the green. Meanwhile up on 4, Nordqvist pours in a right-to-left 20-footer to salvage a half from a hole Thompson thought sheâ€™d won.
Maguire whips her hybrid onto the green at the par-three 3rd. Itâ€™s nowhere near the flag, though, so the doorâ€™s slightly ajar for Kupcho … but the American sends her effort into another greenside bunker. Itâ€™s all going to plan for Europe so far, but really, look at the time, letâ€™s not even go there, not yet.
Maguire walks in her eagle putt on 2. Such a cool customer. What a talent she is. Europe go one up. And theyâ€™ve been handed an early advantage back on 1, where Nelly yips one from short range to gift the hole to Hall. The Olympic champ hasnâ€™t been able to locate her A-game this week; can she dig something out before itâ€™s too late?
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (3) Ewing A/S Sagstrom (3) Kupcho v Maguire 1UP (2) N Korda v Hall 1UP (1) Harigae v Boutier USA 7-9 Europe
Leona Maguire, having split the 2nd fairway, whistles a glorious hybrid to 12 feet, setting up a big eagle chance. Thatâ€™s put the heat on Jennifer Kupcho, in fairway sand. Kupcho sends her second into Ally Ewingâ€™s bunker, front right of the green, so itâ€™s advantage Europe. â€œGreat to see Leonaâ€™s long route to becoming an overnight sensation has paid off,â€ quips the tinder-dry Stephen Monks. â€œNow I want some kind of Ryder/Solheim cup mashup with Leona paired up with Shane Lowry.â€ What a year sheâ€™s had, though, with that 61 at the Evian the highlight … until now, that is? Speaks volumes of her contribution here that matching the record low score in a major may yet end up in the shade when Maguireâ€™s 2021 tale is told.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (3) Ewing A/S Sagstrom (2) Kupcho A/S Maguire (1) N Korda v Hall USA 7-9 Europe
Sagstrom birdies the par-five 2nd in uneventful fashion. Itâ€™s enough to tie the match, because Ewing canâ€™t get up and down from greenside sand. Meanwhile Thompsonâ€™s putting woes momentarily look to be reasserting themselves on 3, as she sends a long putt eight feet wide. But she gathers herself and calmly rolls the par putt in to ensure the hole is halved.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (3) Ewing A/S Sagstrom (2) Kupcho A/S Maguire (1) N Korda v Hall USA 7-9 Europe
Kupcho does extremely well to find the heart of 1 from the fairway bunker. She lags a long putt to kick-in distance, and itâ€™s enough to tie the hole. Back on the tee, good friends Georgia Hall and Nelly Korda prepare to square up for the next few hours. Hallâ€™s drive slips into the semi-rough, but Nelly, who hasnâ€™t been on her game at all so far this week, rips one down the middle. Then she bounces around in a huge circle, whooping up the crowd, who are now one louder at 11.
Thompson v Nordqvist 1UP (2) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (1) Kupcho A/S Maguire (1) N Korda v Hall USA 7-9 Europe
Thompsonâ€™s second at the par-five 2nd nestles on a grassy knoll above a bunker. Sheâ€™d have been better in the sand, because an awful uphill lie and awkward stance contribute to an ugly shank. The ball squirts to the back of a green at a right angle, in exactly the opposite direction to the hole. She does well to lag the monster birdie putt she leaves herself to three feet, but with Nordqvist at the back of the green herself in two, the damage may well be done. And indeed it is. Hole to Europe.
Itâ€™s Jennifer Kupcho versus Leona Maguire! This could well be the match of the day. Maguire is the only player to have played in all four previous sessions, and sheâ€™s top-scored for Europe with three-and-a-half points. Down the fairway her ball whistles. Then, to extended bedlam, specifically requested by the player, Kupcho, who has contributed two-and-a-half points from her three appearances, pulls her drive into a fairway bunker. Up on the green, itâ€™s a two-putt par for Ewing, enough to win the hole, Sagstrom having sent her second into greenside rough. First blood to Team USA!
Thompson A/S Nordqvist (1) 1UP Ewing v Sagstrom (1) Kupcho v Maguire USA 7-9 Europe
Much will depend on the temperature of Lexi Thompsonâ€™s putter today. Her flat stick is erratic, to say the least. She leaves her first putt well short, then misreads a six-footer for par. The doorâ€™s open for Nordqvist, but her own five-foot par effort lips out. A let-off for Team USA, and no Des Moinesesque fast start for the Swede this time round. Meanwhile back on the party tee, Ally Ewing and Madelene Sagstrom hit the course. Sagstrom, so unfortunate to find herself at the heart of topplegate on Saturday afternoon, will be especially desperate to chalk up a point. She sends her opening drive into a bunker down the left. Ewing splits the fairway.
Thompson A/S Nordqvist (1) Ewing v Sagstrom USA 7-9 Europe
Nordqvistâ€™s second into 1 topples back off the false front. Thompson finds the dancefloor, but sheâ€™s pulled it well to the left, and faces a long putt from the fringe. Theyâ€™ll both be putting from distance. This lead match is a repeat of a classic Solheim showdown at Des Moines in 2017, when Nordqvist went four up in the first four holes, only for Lexi to storm back into a late one-hole lead. Nordqvist hit her approach at 18 to 12 inches for a birdie to scramble a half. More of that today, please!
Here we go, then! The first singles match takes to the tee. The punters in the Patriots Pavilion (yessir!) are beyond rowdy. What an atmosphere! And no wonder, given the antics of Team USA mascot Bubba Watson, who has just performed one of those fashionable new rap songs. You may remember Bubba as one quarter of the boyband Golf Boys. Any old excuse.
Anyway, Anna Nordqvist hits the first shot of the day, finding the semi-rough down the left. Her opponent Lexi Thompson splits the fairway to great acclaim. Itâ€™s happening!
Defending Solheim Cup champions Europe head into the final day singles with a two-point lead. The USA however are on home soil, and have an average world ranking of 26.2, while Europeâ€™s average is merely 44.1. But then the Europeans have collectively won five major titles to Americaâ€™s three. The last major was won a couple of weeks ago by Anna Nordqvist, with Georgia Hall, Madelene Sagstrom and Nanna Koerstz Madsen in hot pursuit. However, Lizette Salas was also in hot pursuit. Meanwhile Nelly Korda won the PGA this year, as well as Olympic gold, and is the world number one.
This week, Leona Maguire has been a rookie sensation. Yealimi Noh has been a rookie sensation. Mina Harigae has been a rookie sensation. Matilda Castren has been a rookie sensation. Lexi Thompson appeared to shake off her putting demons yesterday morning on 17. Mel Reid hit the shot of the week yesterday afternoon on 18. Youâ€™d pick Jennifer Kupcho to make the putt thatâ€™d save your life. Youâ€™d pick Georgia Hall to make the putt thatâ€™d save your life. Youâ€™d pick â€¦ but letâ€™s not belabour the point. All of which is simply to ask: would anyone look at this upcoming final session of the 17th edition of the Solheim Cup, every match a top-drawer showdown between some of the greatest golfers on the planet, and honestly, honestly, honestly predict how this already wild and wonderful tournament will pan out? (Answer: no. Also: all times BST.)
1705 Lexi Thompson v Anna Nordqvist 1715 Ally Ewing v Madelene Sagstrom 1725 Jennifer Kupcho v Leona Maguire 1735 Nelly Korda v Georgia Hall 1745 Mina Harigae v Celine Boutier 1755 Austin Ernst v Nanna Koerstz Madsen 1805 Lizette Salas v Matilda Castren 1815 Brittany Altomare v Carlota Ciganda 1825 Megan Khang v Sophia Popov 1835 Yealimi Noh v Mel Reid 1845 Jessica Korda v Charley Hull 1855 Danielle Kang v Emily Kristine Pedersen USA 7-9 Europe
Strap yourself in, then. The first two days of the 2021 Solheim Cup have been your average golfing experience â€“ exciting, sensational, exhilarating, controversial, discombobulating, upsetting, life-affirming, joyous and borderline trippy â€“ so how can the Labor Day singles not deliver a denouement to match? â€œI mean, just look again at these pairings!â€ splutters Dr Golf, who is on hand all afternoon to monitor your heart-rate, check your blood pressure and monitor your heart-rate. Itâ€™s on!
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