09/05/2021 at 9:24 PM CEST
The European women’s team, defender of the Cup Solheim, had arrived in the United States with the feeling of not being the favorite against the local team, but when the first day was completed, the opposite happened.
Despite the fact that the United States presented greater depth and talent in its team, the reality was that Europe with a sensational rookie sealed its best Day 1 in the 31-year history of the event.
Lioness Maguire, the first Irish player to reach the Solheim Cup, made a series of clutch putts during the alternate shooting session to help herself and her teammate Mel Reid to surpass the world number one and Olympic champion Nelly Korda and his older sister Jessica.
The 26-year-old player later worked with the Englishwoman Georgia Hall to get a win by 1 over Yealimi Noh and Brittany Altomare on four balls, while Europe took a lead of 5 1 / 2-2 1/2.
“Trying to be as calm as possible,” he commented Maguire. “Assuming everything naturally. It has been good.”
Europe had a dominant performance in alternate shooting, capturing 3 1/2 of the four possible points, to tie the biggest lead after one day in all 17 editions of the Solheim Cup.
The Americans were three ahead after the opening matches in 1998 and 2017 on their way to comfortable victories.
Despite playing in front of a team with the crowd in their favor, Europe hardly seemed intimidated by what was at stake or the stage, and they stood their ground on a tense day in which seven of the eight games reached the green 18.
“We don’t hear too many European cheers, all from America, but now I’m pretty adept at ignoring it, so it’s not that bad,” Hall said. “We have a job to do.”
A job that Europe certainly seems to be ready for, as it tries to win on American soil for the second time in the competition’s history.
Europe’s advantage could have been even greater if it weren’t for an inadvertent rule violation by the Swede. Madelene Sagstrom during the four-ball game of her and her Danish teammate Nanna Koerstz Madsen against Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing.
The teams were all tied on par 5 on the 13th hole when Korda He sent a twenty-foot putt for an eagle curving from right to left toward the hole.
It hung from the lip when Korda she knelt in exasperation. Sagstrom came over and picked up the ball from Korda quickly to concede the tap-in birdie. It turned out that he took the ball very quickly.
The rulemaking supervisors determined that Sagstrom did not wait the required 10 seconds before catching the ball from Korda, which caused the eagle putt of Korda it was good, a decision that put the Americans in front and opened the door for them to win 1 up.
“You don’t want to win a hole like that,” he declared. Korda. “I came off the green, and we were talking, and (the rules officer) already came up to us and said, ‘I’m checking it, I want to see it.’ Honestly, we didn’t even have a say.”
Sagstrom admitted he broke the rule, though he questioned whether Korda’s ball was as close to going in as officials implied.
“Personally, I don’t agree with the decision that the ball is on edge,” Sagstrom said. “But I didn’t follow the 10-second rule, so it hurts now because I feel like I let my team down.”
It was one of the few difficult moments in a day that belonged largely to the visiting team dressed in blue and white.
Reid and Maguire they were virtually unheard of when they arrived in northwestern Ohio. They came together over the course of three days of practice and it seemed like they had been together for years as they watched the Korda sisters.
The Kordas went undefeated in foursomes at Gleneagles in 2019 but never seemed to get going, even with the former Masters champion, Bubba Watson, accompanying the United States team as a volunteer assistant to the captain Pat Hurst.
Reid and Maguire took the lead when the Kordas they missed on par 4 of the fourth hole and messed up on par 4. It all got worse on par 4 of the sixth when the American sisters watched their respective pitches on the raised green roll down the hill into the rough.
The sisters managed just three birdies in the entire round, two of which were matched by Reid and Maguire, and they could only watch the rookie calmly drill a 3-pointer on 18 to secure the point for Europe.