Europe holds commanding lead heading into singles


PARKER, Colo. – One way or another history will be made Sunday at Colorado Golf Club. Either Europe will win the Solheim Cup for the first time on American soil, or the Americans will complete the biggest comeback in the history of the cup.

Here’s how things look after Day 2, a very bleak day for the Americans:

Leaderboard: Morning foursomes – U.S. 2 1/2, Europe 1 1/2; Afternoon fourballs – Europe 4, U.S. 0; Total – Europe 10 1/2, U.S. 5 1/2.

What it means: Two years ago, on the eve of the 12th Solheim Cup in Ireland, many were wondering if the matches would quickly become irrelevant. If the Americans would’ve won, the overall score of the matches would’ve been 9-3 in favor of the U.S. and would’ve essentially made the rivalry seem ridiculous. But Europe won those matches with an epic singles performance and is in position to win back-to-back cups for the first time in history. This is a big deal.

Match of the day: The first fourball match in the afternoon pitted an all-rookie European team of Jodi Ewart-Shadoff and 17-year-old Charley Hull against Paula Creamer and rookie Lexi Thompson. Neither team ever had more than a 1-up advantage until the last hole and there were birdies aplenty. Ultimately Europe won 2 up. The difference was the par-3 17th hole when Thompson hit her tee shot to 5 feet and Hull hit hers to 4 feet. Thompson missed, Hull made and took the lead into the home hole.

Best of the rest: There were many good matches, and many stinkers too. The second best match of the day was a morning foursomes contest between Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher of Europe and Creamer and Stacy Lewis from the U.S. The Americans took a 4-up lead after 10 holes and appeared in the driver’s seat. But Europe won the next four holes to square the match. Sadly, the match ended when Europe butchered the 18th hole and handed the 1-up victory to the Americans.

Biggest disappointment: Easy one, the Americans got boat-raced in the afternoon and failed to record a point in the fourball session. Mostly everyone was flat and putting was abysmal. Americans didn’t even lead any of the four matches at any point on the back nine. The last time there was a clean sweep of a session in the Solheim Cup was in 2002 when Europe won afternoon fourballs 4-0.

Biggest disappointment, II: Angela Stanford. It’s difficult to imagine but she is now winless in her last two Solheim Cups. Stanford wen 0-3 two years ago in Ireland and is now 0-3 so far this week. This is her fifth Solheim Cup and her career record is 3-10-3.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Can Europe hold on to its huge lead? History says it will. As staggering as it sounds, no team has ever come back from more than a 2-point deficit to win on Sunday. Seems unlikely this year, especially since European stalwarts Suzann Pettersen, Catriona Matthew and Anna Nordqvist all rested Saturday afternoon.

Shot of the day: This is an easy one. Anna Nordqvist aced the par-3, 180-yard 17th hole in morning foursomes to win the match, 2 and 1, against Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda. Nordqvist was paired with Caroline Hedwall.

Quote of the day: “I love Europe, I love winning and I love beating the Americans. And we’re going to win tomorrow.” – Carlota Ciganda

Quote of the day, II: “That’s not the kind of sportsmanship that you maybe want to teach your children.” – Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin after Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda left the 16th green and bolted toward the 17th tee before opponents Caroline Masson and Caroline Hedwall cleaned up a putt to halve the 16th hole.