U.S. rallies to pull even with Europe
Although Europe and America are level at 8-8 going into Sunday's 12 singles matches, the second day of the Solheim Cup yielded one firm result. After 21 years of playing Solheim Cup golf, Laura Davies surpassed Annika Sorenstam's record for most career points Saturday as she and Melissa Reid won their afternoon fourball against Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie.
The 47-year-old Davies tied the competition when she reached the green in two on the 500-yard 18th hole and putted 150 feet to within a couple of inches of the flag.
The Americans have twice embarked on the final day with the match level -- and each time finished on the winning side. For the most part, it has come down to their superior putting.
"We're where we want to be," said Paula Creamer, who partnered with Brittany Lincicome to win the final match of the afternoon. "Those last three points were huge for us. All of us are determined to hang on to the Cup."
Davies had half a point fewer than Sorenstam going into her fourball match. Her victory gave her 24 career points to the Swede's 23½ -- an achievement that is expected to be acknowledged before the end of the contest. The Englishwoman is also in a position where she could best Sorenstam's record for most matches won before Sunday night. They are tied at 22 wins.
Saturday afternoon, she and Reid were in top form as they built up their lead against Lang and Wie. Davies made four birdies in a row, putting as she did in her heyday. She holed out from 18 feet at the fifth to increase the European lead to three and knocked home a 10-footer at the short sixth to make it four.
The performance was bad for business at the Real Irish Sausage van to the side of the hole. Although plenty of spectators would have stopped for a bit of comfort food if Davies had missed, they all forged ahead to the sixth tee, not wanting to miss any of the riveting contest.
Alison Nicholas, the European captain, had given Davies the right partner and the right top slot in the team for her two fourballs. Reid has always had the greatest respect for Davies and never felt any of the envy that others did toward this larger-than-life character.
Davies has always been at her best when sent out first. Her two sets of opponents, Morgan Pressel and Creamer plus Lang and Wie, play too slow for Davies' liking, but with no one ahead, she felt none of the claustrophobia-like symptoms she experiences when in the middle of a slow-moving field. Saturday, in particular, she played with the kind of spirit that makes waves.
Reid, who won a tournament in Spain before coming to Ireland, shone with her iron play. An iron approach at the 12th hole paved the way for an eagle and took the wind out of the American sails when they had shown signs of making a comeback.
It was left to the rest of the Americans to make that comeback. Pressel and Cristie Kerr took the lead in their fourball when Pressel birdied the 17th hole. A par on the final hole was enough to seal the victory.
Stacy Lewis and Ryann O'Toole led all the way in defeating Sandra Gal and Christel Boeljon, as the Americans combined to make six birdies and an eagle. O'Toole was something of a surprise as team captain Rosie Jones' wild-card pick, but the experience she is picking up could fast-forward her to the upper echelons of the women's game. Jones suspected that O'Toole could play with anyone, and she was right as O'Toole picked up 2½ points when paired with three different partners in Christina Kim, Pressel and Lewis.
In the final match, Creamer and Lincicome won 3 and 1 against Maria Hjorth and Azahara Munoz.
"Brittany made every putt," Jones said. "I knew she would play for Paula. You want to impress your peers, and she did just that."