DUNSANY, Ireland – The United States staged a dramatic rally to win the afternoon fourball session 3-1 on Saturday to forged an 8-8 tie with Europe heading into Sunday’s singles matches in the Solheim Cup.
Europe won the morning foursomes 2 1/2 to 1 1/2 to extend its lead to 7-5 over the Americans in the biennial match play competition.
Veteran Laura Davies became the all-time Solheim Cup points record points scorer when she teamed up with Melissa Reid to beat Americans Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie 4 and 3 and put Europe 8-5 in front at Killeen Castle.
But the Americans stormed back to win the last three matches, leaving the sides tied going into the 12 singles for the second time in a row and the third time in the event’s history.
When the matches were tied going into the final day in 2005 and 2009, the U.S. went on to win the singles and lift the trophy.
“I’m very confident in my players,” European captain Alison Nicholas said. “I knew it was going to be all about tomorrow anyway. I know they’re pretty up for it, and they’re feeling good.
“Obviously, anyone would prefer to go in with the lead. But what it is what it is, and we deal with it, and we go forward and we go and try and win.”
Europe needs 14 1/2 points to win the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2003 while the U.S. only needs a 14-14 tie to retain it.
“We really rallied today,” U.S. captain Rosie Jones said. “I thought we played with a lot of heart yesterday, but coming back and tying up the matches today was just really huge.”
The 47-year-old Davies will face the 51-year-old Juli Inkster in the singles.
“We’ve messed up the singles so many times,” Davies said. “This time we need to go out there and not worry.”
U.S. rookie Stacy Lewis earned her first point when she teamed up with the fellow first-timer Ryann O’Toole to beat Sandra Gal and Christel Boeljon 2 and 1.
O’Toole was regarded as a surprise wildcard but believes she has proved herself with two wins a half from her three matches so far.
“I feel very calm and confident,” O’Toole said.
Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr then reduced Europe’s lead to 8-7 when they beat Europe’s top player Suzann Pettersen and the impressive rookie Caroline Hedwall by one hole.
Pettersen holed a 40-foot birdie putt at the 16th to square the match but Pressel replied with a winning birdie at the next and the U.S. held on to win at the last.
Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome then completed the U.S. comeback when they came back from one down at the turn to defeat Maria Hjorth and Azahara Munoz 3 and 1.
“Those last three points were huge for us,” said Creamer, who has won three and a half points out of four this week. “Just the momentum, the team room will have a great vibe. We’re all very pumped up. We want to do really well. Especially going into singles, we feel like everybody is where we want to be.”