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Europe jumps out to three-point lead at Solheim Cup after Korda sisters lose early

Europe jumps out to three-point lead at Solheim Cup after Korda sisters lose early

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TOLEDO, Ohio – For a morning that felt close until the finish, it certainly ended lopsided. Europe leads by three points going into afternoon four-balls at the Solheim Cup, with all four foursomes matches going to the 18th hole. No pairing led by more than 2 up throughout the session.

Anna Nordqvist, the recent AIG Women’s British Open winner, hit the opening tee shot at the Inverness Club in front of a horseshoe arena that was jam-packed with American fans. The reliable Swede went out with rookie Matilda Castren and set the pace for the Europeans, putting the first point on the board against Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst.

“I’m really proud of Matilda to go out there as a rookie and just be fearless,” said Nordqvist.

“She putted really well today and kept us in play.”

World No. 1 Nelly Korda and sister Jessica were unbeatable in this format in 2019, crushing opponents by wide margins. But the feisty pairing of veteran Mel Reid and rookie Leona Maguire took the early lead on the fourth hole and never relinquished, with Maguire knocking in testy par putts until the last to give Europe the 1-up victory.

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After Jessica pitched in for birdie on the 13th, it looked like the Kordas might make a late charge. But the Europeans didn’t give them any windows.

“We couldn’t get into a rhythm at the start,” said Jessica. “It’s a tough golf course, and I think you can see that playing it. Not a lot of birdies to have. We just couldn’t get into a groove. It’s just tough, but we came back and gave it our best.

“But Leona made everything coming in, and it’s tough to kind of do anything when they make no mistakes. I don’t even think they made like a team bogey.”

Charley Hull has never lost in foursomes and kept that streak alive with partner Emily Pedersen. The pair came roaring back against Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare, winning three of the last four holes to clinch the full point.

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“I actually like being – not cheered against – but hearing the ‘USA’ ones because it makes you want to win more,” said Hull, who is now 5-0-1 in the format.

Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall went 3-0 together at Gleneagles and looked in danger of losing their first match before things started to shift late. Ally Ewing missed a short par putt on the 18th to halve the match. The Americans had led since the first hole.

Though Team USA players find themselves down early, it is a familiar position as they haven’t won a Day 1 foursomes session since 2007.

Jessica Korda and Kang are among those who will sit in the afternoon.

Overall score – Europe 3.5, USA .5

Saturday foursomes results – Europe 3.5, USA .5

Matilda Castren/Anna Nordqvist (EUR) def. Austin Ernst/Danielle Kang (USA), 1 up

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Celine Boutier/Georgia Hall (EUR) tied with Ally Ewing/Austin Ernst (USA)

Leona Maguire/Mel Reid (EUR) def. Nelly Korda/Jessica Korda (USA), 1 up

Charley Hull/Emily K. Pedersen (EUR) def. Brittany Altomare/Lexi Thompson, 1 up

Saturday fourball pairings (all times Eastern)

12:35 p.m. – Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Madelene Sagstrom (EUR) vs. Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing (USA)

12:50 p.m. – Carlota Ciganda and Sophia Popov (EUR) vs. Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas (USA)

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1:05 p.m. – Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren (EUR) vs. Lexi Thompson and Mina Harigae (USA)

1:20 p.m. – Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire (EUR) vs. Yealimi Noh and Brittany Altomare (USA)

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