Europe Sweeps Afternoon Matches to Lead by Two

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EDINA, Minn. -- The European Solheim Cup team swept the afternoon four-ball matches ending the day 9-7 in favor of Europe.
 
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