All Even Entering Sunday Singles

By Sports NetworkSeptember 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- Each team won two points in the afternoon four-balls on Saturday, leaving the Solheim Cup tied with the Sunday singles to play.
 
Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster, both Hall of Famers, halved their match with Iben Tinning and Trish Johnson in the opening four-ball.
 
Paula Creamer and Nancy Lopez
U.S. captain Nancy Lopez gives Paula Creamer a hug after her afternoon win.
Rosie Jones, who teamed with Meg Mallon, and Sophie Gustafson, partnered by Suzann Pettersen, each holed sensational putts on the 18th green to halve their match.
 
The third contest went to the 18th green, but the American tandem of Cristie Kerr, who missed the morning foursomes with a sore neck, and Paula Creamer beat Catriona Matthew and Carin Koch, 1-up.
 
The anchor match was historic for the European side. The two best European golfers, Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies, teamed together for the first time ever and easily dispatched Pat Hurst and Christina Kim, 4 and 2.
 
The score is tied with the 12 Sunday singles left. It marks the first time since the 1994 edition that the matches are tied after the opening two days, so the stage is set for an exciting finish.
 
The Americans were two points down heading into Saturday, but the U.S. side captured three of four points in the foursomes. That momentum did not carry over in the four-balls, but three of the matches made it to the 18th.
 
The first was the opening tilt as Daniel and Inkster, who went 2-0 in Sweden two years ago, were even with the Europeans at the turn. Inkster two-putted for birdie from in front of the green at the par-5 ninth, then the Americans won their second hole in a row at 10 to go 1-up, but Tinning sank a 10-footer for birdie to take the 12th.
 
Daniel answered at the 13th with a 7-foot birdie putt to win the hole, but Johnson, who has not appeared in a Solheim Cup since 2000, holed a 6-footer for birdie at 17 to square the match with one to go.
 
Tinning hit an amazing shot into the 18th green that stopped 5 feet from the flag. Inkster badly missed the putting surface left and Daniel leaked through the green. Inkster's third stopped 10 feet short of the hole and Daniel missed her birdie try. Inkster stepped up and holed the par save, setting the stage for Tinning to take the full point.
 
Tinning's putt never touched the hole and the Americans walked off with a halve, but were not happy about it.
 
'Deep down, Beth and I know we didn't play our best golf today,' admitted Inkster, who teamed with Creamer to win in the morning foursomes. 'Half a point, we're not happy with it, but it's better than no points.'
 
Pettersen gave her side the lead with a birdie at 11, but Jones, one of the shortest hitters on the LPGA Tour, took advantage of the next par-5, the 15th. She blasted her third out of a front bunker to 4 feet and ran in the birdie putt to square the match.
 
Pettersen hit an amazing approach inches from the cup at the 16th and the U.S. conceded her birdie. Jones missed a 25-footer to halve, but Mallon rolled in a birdie try from 10 feet closer to remain all-square.
 
The teams halved the 17th with pars, but Pettersen let her partner down at the 18th when she drove into the water. Gustafson hit her approach 7 feet short of the flag, but both Americans were on the putting surface.
 
Jones' flat stick has been working throughout the competition and it worked on 18. She converted a cross-green, 30-footer for birdie and put the pressure firmly on Gustafson's shoulders.
 
She responded. Gustafson stroked home her 7-foot birdie putt to conclude an outstanding match with a halve.
 
'That's got to be the best putt I've ever made,' admitted Jones. 'I went straight at it. I changed the line a little bit. Meg played great on the back side. It was a perfect match.'
 
Koch carried her side with three birdies in her first three holes and that meant a 3-up lead for the European lead. Creamer then won four and five with birdies and when Kerr kicked in a 3-footer for par at eight, the match was even.
 
Creamer two-putted for birdie at the ninth and the Americans moved 1-up. Matthew rolled in a long birdie putt at the par-3 13th, but Kerr, the top points earner in qualifying for the American side, rose to the occasion.
 
She hit her third close enough to be conceded a birdie at the 15th and the Americans reclaimed a 1-up margin. Neither team could birdie the 16th and No. 17 came down to some par putts. Kerr and Matthew both holed 5-footers to save par and halve the hole, giving the U.S. a 1-up lead with one to play.
 
Koch drove into the water at 18 and Matthew found the rough. Both Creamer and Kerr were in the fairway, but Creamer missed the green and Kerr came up 35 feet short of the stick. Matthew could only manage to get her ball 40 feet right of the flag and Koch hit her third shot to 10 feet.
 
Kerr's birdie putt came up 4 feet short and Matthew's attempt at birdie did not fall. Creamer chipped to a little more than 3 feet, and she went first and made the putt, giving the Americans a full point.
 
'I kind of had it a little bit in the end, but she was so solid,' said Kerr, referring to her partner. 'She kept us up in the match and is a helluva player.'
 
Sorenstam flew out of the gate with a 10-foot birdie putt, then the Europeans won two and six. The Americans got one back at the eighth, but Sorenstam sank an 8-foot eagle putt at the ninth to go 3-up.
 
The Europeans won the next two holes to move 5-up, but Hurst and Kim did not quit. Hurst won the 13th and 15th holes with birdies, but when neither American could birdie 16, the match went to the European side.
 
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    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

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    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

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