Europe Sweeps Afternoon Matches to Lead by Two
Dale Reids squad mounted a charge Saturday afternoon in hopes of off-setting a two-point deficit accrued by her squad earlier that morning.
It wasnt long after each of the four afternoon matches started all square that the Europeans pulled away. By the backside, three of the four matches were in blue. The Americans were swiftly losing ground and when all was said and done the European team had turned the tables in favor of the blue and gold, taking all four matches.
Its good to see a lot of blue on the board for the people that are out there, Carin Koch said referring to her teammates on the course. And we didnt feel really good about this morning.
I just think everyone was really ready to go and wanted to get some points on the board this afternoon, Kochs playing partner Annika Sorenstam added.
Beth Daniel and Wendy Ward, paired against Sorenstam and Koch, played tough against the Swedes. The two managed to keep the match all square through the fifth.
Back-to-back birdies on the next two holes put the Americans in the lead by two but the Swedish pair had something else in mind and took the match back on the par-4 11th.
My caddie kept telling me to be patient and keep grinding and that things will turn around, Sorenstam said.
Sorenstam and Koch proceeded to make birdie on the next three holes and by the 14th they were dormie. The match ended with Koch and Sorenstam four holes up with three to go and the Europeans now only one point behind in the standings.
Koch, historically a streaky putter, has been putting well of late and putted exceptionally well today, sinking a down hill left-to-right putt on five, and two amazingly long putts on the 8th and 14th.
They made two putts, they made a putt on eight and a putt on nine, they made a lot of putts, and poor Beth here, was playing with one arm because her partner wasnt playing very well, Ward said of her seemingly unstoppable opponents.
Daniel made her return to the matches this afternoon after a bout with the flu yesterday.
I played a lot better today than I did yesterday, but I just made more putts yesterday, the Hall of Famer said. Match play boils down to putting. They made a lot of putts, miles and mile of putts today, this group, all week.
This was the third match in which Reid had paired Koch with Sorenstam. Their record of 3-0 for the week speaks for itself.
With the gap closing and the boards in blue on all remaining matches, things were looking up for the Europeans. Both sides were now level in match totals until Maria Hjorth and Iben Tinning finished their match one up over U.S. opponents Pat Hurst and Kelli Kuehne.
This was an excellent match to watch as both sides were very evenly matched and spent much of the round all square. Come the 334-yard par-4 15th that the European pairing's tenacity finally paid off. The pair, up by one, latched on to a lead they would not relinquish.
Tinning and Hjorth walked onto the 18th tee dormie. The last hole was conceded by the Americans on the green once they had determined there was no chance of tying their opponents and was subsequently halved. It was a tremendous win for Tinning who had a tough morning loss.
The U.S. and Europe were now level with the final two matches of the day still on the course.
Karine Icher and Raquel Carriedos U.S. opponents Rosie Jones and Cristie Kerr couldnt make enough birdies to move the score into the red. Icher, one of six European squad rookies, and Carriedo played flawless golf recording seven birdies ' one better than the Americans ' and winning the match one up and putting Europe in the lead.
Laura Davies and Sophie Gustafson brought home the final point of the day, cementing the Europeans overall lead by two points. Paired against Kelly Robbins and Emilee Klein, Davies and Gustafson lagged behind the Americans for half of the round. By the back nine they were in the blue. The Europeans won the final match of the day one up.
Reid has played Davies in four matches this week. The 38-year-old from Coventry complained of a slightly tired back but was otherwise no worse for the wear.
You cant really question it when youve got a two point lead, Davies said of Reids decision to play her in all the matches thus far.
Tomorrow is another day and with the Europeans leading by two, they have a slight advantage over their opponents ' one that they will need if history repeats itself.
The Americans have a history of having good singles days, Davies said.
Scores from the 2002 Solheim Cup
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.