CASARES, Spain: The European team started to fight back on Friday afternoon as they edged fourballs to trail the US 5-3 at the end of the first day of the Solheim Cup.
The US swept the morning foursomes 4-0 at Finca Cortesin in Spain, but Europe collected two wins and two halves in taking the afternoon fourballs 3-1 to revive their hopes of an unprecedented third win in a row.
Europe received a huge fillip from Leona Maguire in the second match. All square and with American Lexi Thompson on the fringe of the green in two at the par five 18th, the Irish star chipped in for birdie.
Clearly rattled, Thompson half shanked her chip and could only manage a par and the Europeans, Maguire and Georgia Hall, claimed a first full point.
“it was a great win,” said Maguire, who won four and half points out of five on her debut two years ago. “Georgia kept it together on the front nine and then I made some birdies on the back nine.
“It’s been a long, tiring day but it was a good comeback in the afternoon.”
Spaniard Carlota Ciganda, who had sat out foursomes, carried on the home charge in the afternoon, joining rookie Linn Grant in a 4 and 2 victory over Ally Ewing and Angel Yin in the final foursome.
The other matches swung back and forth.
In the top tie, rookie Gemma Dryburgh and Madelene Sagstrom shared the spoils with US rookie Rose Zhang and Megan Khang.
A highlight was Dryburgh’s chip in for birdie at the 16th — but Zhang followed her in with a 20-foot putt to keep the match all square.
The third match was also a well-earned half. US Open Champion Allizen Corpuz holed a long putt for birdie at the 18th, but rookie Maja Stark followed her in from around the same range.
In the same match, Emily Pedersen claimed the shot of the day with a hole in one at the 178-yard 12th.
“It was a tough morning, but good to fight back in the afternoon,” said European Captain, Suzann Pettersen.
“I think my team was almost trying too hard in the morning but I was confident they could come back.”
The morning was all about the US. Thompson and Khang set the tone in the top match, winning the opening three holes against European rookies Grant and Stark.
The Americans went on to win by 2 and 1 and their next two matches claimed victory on the final green.
In a one-sided final match, Ewing and rookie Cheyenne Knight trounced Charley Hull and Pedersen by 5 and 4.
Hull, playing in her sixth Solheim, was struggling with neck and upper back pain and was worked on by the physiotherapist on the practice range.
But she was out spectating in the afternoon and expects to be fit for final two days.