US Team Dominates Morning Matches


The European and the U.S. Solheim Cup teams held their ground Saturday morning but in the end the Americans triumphed winning three of the four matches. It was quite a turn around from Fridays Foursome matches in which the Europeans dominated. European Captain Dale Reid and her team are now trailing the U.S. by two points going into the afternoon matches.
U.S. Captain Patty Sheehan hit pay dirt with three out of four of her new pairings Saturday morning. We are happy, Meg Mallon said. This is our best foursome day ever.
The rookies dont know we stink in this format, so they are carrying us, Juli Inkster quipped. I mean this is the best we have been, and as Patty says, you can pretty much put any two together and come out and at least have a chance to win.
The first time Captain bravely paired Cup rookies Emilee Klein and Wendy Ward and it paid off in spades. Ward and Klein closed the match three up with two holes to go against Mhairi Mckay and Iben Tinning.
While Klein played her first Foursome match like an old pro, her European counterpart Iben Tinning, grappled with the overwhelming pressure of this event. Tinning and Mckay were all square on the 526 yard par-5 10th when things went really wrong for the team.
Tinning, standing over the teams third shot, hit it heavy, advancing the ball a mere 20-yards. One the very next hole, the rookie from Denmark, hit the teams second shot fat, once again making very little advancement.
It was at this moment that the pressure, palpable in the very air the galleries breathed in, caved the strong young European Tour player who now stood in the middle of the fairway, hands in face, reeling from the horror of it all. Tinning, buoyed by her teammate and caddy, pulled herself together like a hero and played the rest of the round as best she could. It was inspirational to see this young player hold it together for her team.
Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster brought home the next point for the Americans, winning their match two up with one to go over long ball hitters Laura Davies and Paula Marti.
I really struggled yesterday afternoon and I stunk, Inkster said referring to her two lost matches Friday. But I came back today and played a lot better, and Meg and I teamed well, and she helped me get out of my little funk I was in, and I finally got a win and got a point for the United States, which was huge.
Laura Diaz and Kelly Robbins brought home the third match point of the morning against Helen Alfredsson and rookie Suzann Petersen. The European pair that had found success on Friday mornings matches was unable to replicate the magic again today. Diaz and Robbins took the match point three up with one to go.
Diaz, one of five rookies on the American team, has won two matches and lost one.
I have dreamed a lot about coming here and playing, and its been way more than I could ever have asked for, Diaz said. Both of the points that I won were a lot of fun. I think the point that Juli and I lost together didnt ' it didnt feel like we lost it because I really felt like we played pretty well.
Annika Sorenstam and fellow countrywoman Carin Koch were the first and only Europeans to put blue on the board Saturday morning. Friday the pair stomped Meg Mallon and Kelli Kuehne ending the match up three with two holes left. This morning is was Cristie Kerr and Michelle Redmans turn to be brought to their knees.
We got off to a pretty bad start, Kerr said. I mean, its hard to recover from, you know, like a four down after 8 holes or something, deficit, but we played our hearts out there, and they are a machine, thats what we call them, as a team, the are a machine, and they are tough to beat, but the are not indelible, so
The teams, which were all square after the first hole, parted ways on the 463 yard par-5 2nd. It was then that the European teammates pulled ahead never to look back. The Swedish duo had their way with the Americans winning the match in grand style ending the match four up with three to go on the 15th.
Sorenstam, defeated by Redman on Friday afternoon, had a little extra motivation. Well, I just wanted to say Michele played so well yesterday that it was really a good match, tough match, but of course I wanted a little revenge, Sorenstam said.
Both European's played exceptionally well for the second day. We are both rolling good putts and both, you know, not making really any mistakes out there, and I think in best ball thats what you have to do, you have to make sure one person in the group is making par so the other one can make birdie, so I think we will be good again, Koch said, implying Reid is pairing the Swedish machine again in the afternoon Fourball matches.
Sorenstam improved her overall Foursomes record to 7-1-1 while playing partner Koch is now the only undefeated Foursomes match player - with a record of 3-0-0 - on the European team.
Full-coverage of the 2002 Solheim Cup