WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. captain Juli Inkster is sending out two of her most formidable pairings in the opening foursomes sessions Friday at the Solheim Cup.
While European captain Annika Sorenstam has more Solheim Cup rookies on her team, she will be opening with a more veteran mix.
“I don’t know about Annika, but we’re just ready to get it going,” Inkster said. “It’s been a year and a half preparing for this.”
Inkster is sending out two rookies in the morning session, Sorenstam just one.
“We decided to go out with some more veteran players early on, that have been around,” Sorenstam said. “We shared our philosophy early on, and they’re going with our plan.”
Inkster will lead off with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson in the first match at 9:10 a.m. ET. They were undefeated (2-0-1) as partners in Germany two years ago. They’ll meet the veteran English duo of Charley Hull and Mel Reid, who teamed to put the first point on the board for Europe in Germany.
“I wanted to get a veteran team out there first and see what happens,” Inkster said.
Inkster is sending out two Solheim Cup rookies in the opening session, with KPMG Women’s PGA champion Danielle Kang making her first appearance in the event. She will team with Lizette Salas in the second match off at 9:22 a.m. ET. They’ll meet Solheim veterans Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Caroline Masson of Germany.
Austin Ernst, also making her first Solheim Cup appearance, will go off at 9:34 a.m. ET with fellow American Paula Creamer, who is teeing it up in her seventh Solheim Cup. That duo will meet Europe’s best player, Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, who is teamed with Georgia Hall of England, the only Solheim Cup rookie Sorenstam is sending out in the opening session.
Inkster’s second power pairing, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, will go off at 9:46 a.m. They were 2-0 together in Germany. They will meet Scotland’s Catriona Matthew and France’s Karine Icher. Matthew has won more Solheim Cup points (19) than any other player in these matches. Icher is 5-4-1 in Solheim Cup play.
Inkster is sitting Michelle Wie, Angel Yin, Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang in the morning session.
Yin is Inkster’s third rookie, a true LPGA rookie, but she will get out in afternoon fourballs.
Inkster was asked if she intended to use all of her players on the first day.
“Yes,” she said.
“I won’t say,” she said.
Sorenstam has four rookies, with three sitting out the morning session with veteran Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England: Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, Denmark’s Emily Pedersen. England’s Florentyna Parker.
Friday foursomes pairings
9:10 a.m.: Mel Reid-Charley Hull (Europe) vs. Cristie Kerr-Lexi Thompson (USA)
9:22 a.m.: Carlota Ciganda-Caroline Masson (Europe) vs. Danielle Kang-Lizette Salas (USA)
9:34 a.m.: Anna Nordqvist-Georgia Hall (Europe) vs. Paula Creamer-Austin Ernst (USA)
9:46 a.m.: Karine Icher-Catriona Matthew (Europe) vs. Stacy Lewis-Gerina Piller (USA)