DUNSANY, Ireland – U.S. Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones will send Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr out first Friday morning in foursomes and she hoped they would square off against Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson. But European captain Alison Nicholas countered with Swedes Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist and put Pettersen and Gustafson in the fourth match.
'I was kind of going on what you have done before,' Jones said to Nicholas. 'That didn't work out but it's OK. You got me there. Strike 1.'
Jones’ strategy, however, appears sound. Since the course is damp and will play extremely long, Jones paired a long hitter with a player of average length in each of the four groups. After Wie and Kerr, Paula Creamer is playing with Brittany Lincicome, Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford are together and the final group is Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster.
Rookie captain's picks Vicky Hurst and Ryann O'Toole will sit the first session, as will Morgan Pressel and Christina Kim, who has not brought her best form to Killeen Castle. It's a little bit of a surprise that Pressel isn't playing, but she is one of the shortest hitters in this competition. Pressel will play in the afternoon, however, as Jones said she plans to get some playing time for all 12 players on Day 1.
'I plan on getting all my players out,' Jones said. 'I think that's important. But you have to wait and see how the first matches go and adjust.'
Nicholas wouldn't divulge whether she will play everyone on Friday but will throw two rookies into the mix quickly. Rookie Melissa Reid is paired with fellow Englishwoman Karen Stupples and rookie Azahara Munoz is paired with Catriona Matthew in the third match. Rookies Sandra Gal, Christel Boeljon and Caroline Hedwall will sit the morning session, as will 11-time Solheim Cup veteran Laura Davies.
'I've got some experience there and a bit of youth too,' Nicholas said. 'We're very happy with them.'
Click here for the complete opening foursomes pairings.