ST. LEON-ROT, Germany – The Americans prevented a sweep in early Saturday morning’s dramatic finish to Friday’s suspended fourball matches at the Solheim Cup.
Halving both the suspended matches in the rain, the Americans headed into Saturday’s foursomes down 5-3.
With Europe finishing strong before darkness suspended Friday’s play, the American response was important.
All square at the last hole resuming one suspended match, Europe’s Mel Reid carved a shot to 15 feet, setting up a birdie chance. American Lexi Thompson followed, lasering her approach to 12 feet. They couldn’t outdo each other. After Reid holed her putt, igniting a celebration around the 18th hole, Thompson dropped her birdie putt in on top of Reid’s to secure the half-point.
In the other suspended match, the Americans were 1 down with three holes to play but Gerina Piller came out firing, holing a 45-footer for birdie to square the match. She also birdied the next to put the Americans 1 up going to the 18th. Germany’s Sandra Gal, however, delivered once again in her homeland. She stuck her approach at the last to 2 feet. After Piller couldn’t convert a third consecutive birdie chance, this one from 18 feet, the Americans conceded the birdie.
Thompson said there were plenty of nerves before she holed her birdie to answer Reid’s.
“There was just a lot of adrenaline,” Thompson said. “I made sure I took a lot of deep breaths before, with all the screaming going on, with Mel making that putt. I knew I had to top her. I had a good read on it. I had a perfect spot to aim my putt and just had to commit.”
That half was important given how strong Europe finished with darkness falling Friday. Spain’s Carlota Ciganda holed a 9-iron from 135 yards at the 17th, squaring a match the Americans appeared to have in hand with a 2-up lead with three holes to go. Though Europe pushed to finish the match Friday evening, the Americans declined to do so. The break appeared to help the Americans regroup.
Europe was trying to close out a fourball sweep.
“It's huge momentum for us, because with them holing out in the dark, anything could have happened this morning,” Kerr said.