PARKER, Colo. – The Euros hit a stunning trifecta in the morning foursomes.
They handily knocked off the top three Americans in the world rankings Friday in the Solheim Cup’s opening session to take early command of the matches.
That trio's fall was unexpected because those Americans arrived for these matches highly motivated and in good form. All three endured heartaches in the American loss in Ireland two years ago, with the trio failing to deliver a point in key positions in the Sunday singles. They came to these matches determined to wipe those memories away.
In Friday’s opening match, Europe’s “Swedish Vikings” set a brilliant tone. Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall defeated Lewis and Lizette Salas, 4 and 2. Nordqvist and Hedwall were a terrific alternate-shot pairing, hitting fairways and greens in an unrelenting, mistake-free attack.
“They kept the pressure on, and it never looked like they were going to ever make a bogey,” Lewis said.
Nordqvist and Hedwall made four birdies over the 16 holes played in the match. Lewis and Salas birdied the first hole and didn’t make another birdie the rest of the match.
“I wasn’t really that nervous,” Nordqvist said. “I was just so excited. We all worked so hard to get here.”
Surprisingly, Salas looked like the steady veteran for the American lead-off team, knocking down clutch putts early while Lewis struggled with her putter on Colorado Golf Club’s devilishly quick greens.
Lewis is No. 2 in the Rolex world rankings and coming off winning the Ricoh Women’s British Open, but she seemed out of sorts Friday. She duck-hooked an approach shot into a bunker at the 16th, a hole the Americans had to win to keep their match alive.
In the morning anchor match, Europe’s Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher upset Creamer and Kerr, 2 and 1. “It feels amazing,” Munoz said. “It’s always nerve-racking getting on the first tee, but we played well from the beginning.”
Icher loved her pairing with Munoz.
“It was great to win this match, and I think I’ve found a friend forever,” Icher said.
That victory felt like two points for the Euros with the underdogs taking down the Americans’ most formidable pairing.
Creamer is No. 11 in the world rankings, Kerr No. 12. They came into these matches cumulatively having won 26 points in Solheim Cup play.
Icher is No. 24 in the world, Munoz No. 27. They came to these matches cumulatively having won 3 ½ Solheim Cup points.
In the other matches, Europe’s Suzann Pettersen and Beatriz Recari teamed to defeat Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang, 2 and 1, and the United States’ Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda teamed to defeat Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 3 and 2.