After two days of foursomes and fourball matches, Europe will take a two-point lead into the final day singles at the 2021 Solheim Cup.
A sensational Saturday morning saw Europe win 3.5 out of the 4 points available in the foursomes, before adding a further 2 points in the afternoon. Team USA fought back on Sunday, clinching 3 points in the morning foursomes to close the gap to one point, but Europe turned the momentum around in the afternoon to lead 9-7 heading into the final day.
Rookie Leona Maguire, who is the first Irish player to represent Europe in the Solheim Cup, has had a phenomenal competition to date claiming 3.5 out of 4 available points alongside Mel Reid and Georgia Hall, respectively.
“You never know how you are going to react in these situations until you are put in them. This is what you practice for. This is what you prepare for. I love team golf. I love match play,” said Maguire. “It felt like being in college a little bit. I have had fantastic partners that have made me feel so comfortable out there and just sort of tried to dovetail off them, ride the momentum and hole a few putts when I could.”
In the morning, Maguire and Reid formed a formidable duo once again as they defeated Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 5&4 after a dominant performance. The pair returned for their fourball against Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas, and despite being behind for much of the encounter, a birdie on 18 from Reid ensured the match was halved.
“We tried to ride the wave from this morning. We played some great golf this morning, and to get the win as big as we did this morning was huge. I just tried to stay really patient. We knew it was going to be a very different match this afternoon,” said Maguire. “We knew the girls were going to be relentless, that we just had to hang in there. We were down for most of the day, which is a position we hadn’t been in the last couple days. Tried to be patient, we knew it would turn for us, and just waited for Mel to hit that clutch shot at the end.”
Europe’s other two points in the afternoon fourballs came from Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen, who claimed a 3&2 victory over Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst.
In the second match of the afternoon Carlota Ciganda and rookie Nanna Koerstz Madsen clinched a 1 up win over Jessica Korda and Megan Khang.
The European duo trailed for large parts of the match but a birdie by Koerstz Madsen on 12 tied the teams before Ciganda’s 40-foot birdie on 15 ensured they went 1 up.
“I think it was really important to get that point,” said Ciganda, a five-time member of Team Europe. “It was a really tight match. The Americans were happy after they had a great morning, so we knew it was going to be a tough afternoon. Going into tomorrow, winning these two days was key.”
MONDAY SINGLES PAIRINGS (GMT)
5:05 p.m. – Anna Nordqvist (EUR) vs. Lexi Thompson (USA)
5:15 p.m. – Madelene Sagstrom (EUR) vs. Ally Ewing (USA)
5:25 p.m. – Leona Maguire (EUR) vs. Jennifer Kupcho (USA)
5:35 p.m. – Georgia Hall (EUR) vs. Nelly Korda (USA)
5:45 p.m. – Celine Boutier (EUR) vs. Mina Harigae (USA)
5:55 p.m. – Nanna Koerstz Madsen (EUR) vs. Austin Ernst (USA)
6:05 p.m. – Matilda Castren (EUR) vs. Lizette Salas (USA)
6:15 p.m. – Carlota Ciganda (EUR) vs. Brittany Altomare (USA)
6:25 p.m. – Sophia Popov (EUR) vs. Megan Khang (USA)
6:35 p.m. – Mel Reid (EUR) vs. Yealimi Noh (USA)
6:45 p.m. – Charley Hull (EUR) vs. Jessica Korda (USA)
6:55 p.m. – Emily K. Pedersen (EUR) vs. Danielle Kang (USA)