TOLEDO, Ohio – It might have been their first meeting – likely of many – in a Solheim Cup, but Jennifer Kupcho and Leona Maguire are familiar foes.
Kupcho attended Wake Forest from 2015-19. Maguire attended ACC rival Duke from 2014-18. They both were ranked No. 1 in the world during their college stints. They both won Player of the Year awards. They both won a lot and often had to beat the other in order to do so.
On Sunday at Inverness Club, the stakes were higher than ever.
Europe led, 8 ½ - 6 ½, with the final fourballs match on the final hole. Kupcho had just dramatically chipped in for birdie at the par-4 17th to give her and partner Lizette Salas a 1-up advantage.
While Maguire didn’t counter with such fireworks at the last, her teammate did. Mel Reid hit a beautiful approach shot at the par-4 18th that tracked to within 3 feet of the hole. European captain Catriona Matthew called it "a bit lucky," but maybe that’s what you get playing with an Irishwoman.
The putt, however, required no luck. Reid rolled it in for birdie to earn a half-point and then pounded the logo on her chest, much like fellow Englishman Ian Poulter has done in the Ryder Cup.
After the U.S. won three of the four morning foursomes to get within a point, Europe won 2 ½ of the four points in the afternoon to increase its edge entering Monday's singles.
“They came out firing this morning. They were obviously very pumped up from that,” Reid said.
“The crowd were getting behind them, heckling us a little bit. Whatever, some of it was funny, some of it wasn't. Whenever they came up with more original stuff. But obviously to go in with a two-point lead is huge. Getting that halve was huge.”
Maguire, a Solheim Cup rookie, is the only player on either side who will play all five matches. She’s paid back her captain’s trust with a 3-0-1 record thus far.
“That's what the captain wanted me to do, so here to win every single point I can for the team,” Maguire said. “One more day to try and do that again tomorrow.”
Maguire will play – guess who? – Kupcho in the third singles match on Monday. The stakes between the two keep getting higher.