Europe and U.S. all square after opening Solheim skirmishes

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 18, 2015 8:02 AM

By Tony Jimenez

ST LEON-ROT, Germany (Reuters) - Holders Europe were level 2-2 with the United States after sharing the honors in the opening foursomes matches at the 14th Solheim Cup on Friday.

Europe's points came from English pair Melissa Reid and Charley Hull and the German-Scottish combination of Sandra Gal and Catriona Matthew while the Americans countered through Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer, and Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.

The best performance of the morning came from Gal, 30, and the 46-year-old Matthew who beat Stacy Lewis and Lizette Salas 3 and 2 in Match Four thanks to a run of five birdies in the last 11 holes.

The American mood in that encounter was summed up when world number three Lewis, the highest-ranked player in this week's event, missed a short putt at the 14th.

Hull gave an unforgettable performance as a 17-year-old rookie in Europe's victory in Colorado in 2013 and carried on in the same vein in partnership with Reid.

The bubbly Hull is never short of a word or two out on the course and her partner jokingly admitted there were times when she simply had to switch off during Match Two.

"I don't even listen half the time," Reid told reporters after the English duo defeated Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome 2 and 1. "I just let her speak.

"I have to let it go in one ear and out the other or else I'll go crazy. I just let her blab on about whatever she wants to blab on about."

Hull ended the contest in thrilling style, holing a long putt from the fringe of the green at the 17th.

"I needed that putt because I hadn't holed anything all day from the short ones," said the 19-year-old. "We both played really well and I'm buzzing to get out there again."

In the top match, two dropped strokes on the front nine from Scandinavians Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist gave the momentum to the Americans as Pressel and Creamer scored a 3 & 2 win.

Kerr and Thompson opened with three birdies in the first six holes in Match Three against Karine Icher of France and Spain's Azahara Munoz and the Europeans slipped to a 2 and 1 defeat despite staging a fightback with three birdies in a row at the 13th, 14th and 15th.

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)