US leads 5-3 after hot start at Solheim Cup

golf22 September 2023 16:45| © Reuters

The United States rode a historic start to a 5-3 lead over Europe on Friday's opening day of the Solheim Cup.

For the first time ever, the Americans swept all four matches in the opening foursome (alternate shot) session at Finca Cortesin in Andalusia, Spain.

The two-time defending champion Europeans sliced into that 4-0 deficit with a 3-1 record in the four-ball (best ball) matches.

The team that won the opening session has gone on to win eight of the previous 11 Solheim Cups.

Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang defeated Maja Stark and Linn Grant 2 and 1. Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee posted a 1-up win against Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall, with Allisen Corpuz and Nelly Korda beating Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist by the same score. Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight cruised to a 5 and 4 victory over Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen.

"First, I was just so happy to have Ally out there to keep me calm," Knight said. "She was helping me last week when I had questions and has been so great to lean on.

"The first tee I was nervous," Knight said. "(Captain) Stacy (Lewis) was like, ‘Are you OK?' and I said, ‘We need to get this going.' But it was awesome. I've never experienced anything like this so I'm just really grateful to put a point on the board for the USA."

Lewis rested two-time major winner and World No 2 Lilia Vu and celebrated rookie Rose Zhang in the opening session.

In the afternoon four-ball pairings, Team Europe coach Suzann Pettersen's squad won two matches and halved the other two.

Carlota Ciganda and Grant won 4 and 2 over Angel Yin and Ewing, while Maguire and Hall defeated Thompson and Vu 1-up. Zhang and Khang tied Gemma Dryburgh and Madelene Sagstrom, while Jennifer Kupcho and Corpuz drew even with Pedersen and Stark.