Euros take lead on a crazy Day 1 of Solheim Cup


PARKER, Colo. – Hold on to your breakfast.

That should have been the warning attached to the Solheim Cup tickets issued for Friday’s wild start to the biennial matches.

This day took so many dizzying twists and turns from start to finish before finally ending with Europe in command, 5-3.

It was one volatile ride for the Americans, who are looking to re-group and keep the Euros from winning these matches for the first time on American soil.

The day started with American Jessica Korda excusing herself at the first tee to barf up breakfast.

It started with fellow American Lizette Salas wiping away tears walking through the tunnel to the first tee with “USA” chants echoing across Colorado Golf Club. The joy and the pride Salas felt just being here on the American team burst through her after she hugged her parents, Mexican immigrants who sacrificed so much so she could chase her dreams here.

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It ended with Americans Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie flabbergasted when a shoving match broke out between a cameraman and a photographer as they were being interviewed after teaming brilliantly to win their afternoon fourballs to keep the Euros from racing too far ahead.

“It was bizarre,” Kerr said of the scuffle. “There was cursing, and some shoving, and the police coming over.”

This day ended with Stacy Lewis fuming, marching red-faced to the clubhouse angered by the drop Europe’s Carlota Ciganda got at the 15th hole after bombing her approach into a hazard. Ciganda’s remarkable save there helped her and Suzann Pettersen defeat Lewis and Lexi Thompson, 1 up. Lewis sternly made her case against the drop to a rules official after the match and then waved off a reporter’s questions as she marched to the clubhouse to cool off.

Lewis wore the frustrated face of this American team at day’s end. She embodied the exasperation of a struggling team in a harder spot now in its quest to win back the Solheim Cup after losing it two years ago in Ireland.

Lewis, No. 2 in the Rolex world rankings, was inexplicably shut out Friday, losing in both her morning foursomes and afternoon fourball matches. It was inexplicable because Lewis was so out of sorts most of the day, spraying shots and missing putts just 12 days after winning the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

Now 1-5 in Solheim Cups, Lewis will be looking to regroup and find the form that has made her the best American in the game today.

“Stacy was upset about the day, because she was starting to turn her game around at that time,” U.S. captain Meg Mallon said. “She started playing well and to make some birdies. That’s my job now, to go back and get her refocused for tomorrow, which I’m sure she’s already there. She's a very bright person.” 

Lewis said the 25 minutes it took to make the ruling killed the American momentum in that match. 

'As far as moving on, the good thing is we are only two points down, and, if anything, this just gives everyone more motivation,' Lewis said.

The United States was wobbled early, with the Euros seizing three of the first four morning foursomes matches.

The Euros sent a message thumping the top three Americans in the world with Lewis, Paula Creamer and Kerr all getting shut out in the morning.

Europe’s Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher were the morning MVPs, taking down the formidable American pairing of Kerr and Creamer, 2 and 1. It only counted for one point, but it felt like more. It was the first time Kerr and Creamer lost in their four pairings together in Solheim Cups.

Kerr was asked if the first day’s outcome staggered the Americans.

“I don’t think so,” said Kerr, who got red hot making seven birdies in afternoon fourballs. “We have seen it before. We have to have a really strong day tomorrow to give us the momentum to go into singles. We are prepared to do it, no matter what it takes.”

Europe’s Pettersen reprised her role as this team’s spirited leader. She was 2-0 on the day. She teamed with Beatriz Recari in morning foursomes to defeat Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang, 2 and 1. She teamed with Ciganda in beating Lewis and Thompson in that afternoon fourballs that so infuriated Lewis.

“It just never gets old,” Pettersen said.

Caroline Hedwall was another force on the European side. She stiffed iron shots close and made a bushel basket full of putts in going 2-0.

The Americans' bright spots included the team of Morgan Pressel and Korda. They won the only American point in the morning, defeating Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 3 and 2.

In the afternoon, Kerr and Wie were dominant, defeating Matthew and Charley Hull, 2 and 1. Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang won the other American point in fourballs, defeating Anna Nordqvist and Giulia Sergas, 4 and 3.

“I think, obviously, everyone is pretty disappointed,” Lang said. “A lot of girls are going to be fired up and ready to go tomorrow.”