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Golf - 15. September 2019.

USA COME BACK TO SET UP THRILLING FINALE

The 2019 Solheim Cup is set for a thrilling final day after Team USA won the Saturday afternoon fourballs session 2½-1½ to tie the match at 8-8 overall.

On a wet and windy day at Gleneagles, the morning foursomes ended 2-2 to keep Europe a point ahead, but the momentum was with the Americans in the afternoon, with Brittany Altomare and Annie Park beating Suzann Pettersen and Anne Van Dam in the top match to put some red on the board.

Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson recovered from yesterday’s heavy defeat to grab a half point in the next match against Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex, although Masson could have made it even better but for a missed eight-footer on the last which would have secured the full point.

Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier – so impressive together so far – then completed a remarkable turnaround to give Europe a huge boost. The duo were behind all the way from the first to the 16th tee against Ally McDonald and Angel Yin, but won the last five holes to finish two up and keep their 100% record intact.

In the final group, Lizette Salas and Danielle Kang closed out a 2&1 win over Spaniards Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz having been ahead all the way from seventh.

Captain Juli Inkster was delighted to see her side fight back to draw level after four sessions.

“I’m ecstatic to be where we’re at right now,” said Inkster, who is chasing her third consecutive Solheim Cup triumph as Captain. “And Danielle and Lizette finally got on the board. I hung with them, had confidence in them, and they showed me something today.

“For Brittany and Annie to get a point right off the bat was huge. So we’re ecstatic where we are because I think we’re pretty good in singles, hopefully the weather will be a little better tomorrow and we can see some really good golf from the Euros and the USA and a battle for the cup.”

Inkster’s counterpart, Catriona Matthew, was happy with the outcome and reserved particular praise for Boutier and Hall, who have won three points from three matches together.

“To be honest, probably as a team we’re slightly chippier tonight,” she said. “At one point this afternoon it looked as though it could potentially go 4-0 or 3-1, so to get to 2½-1½ ended up being good for us.

“That fight back from Georgia and Celine was great. Georgia is great with her long irons. Celine is a great putter, so I felt certainly for foursomes that would be a good pairing. Caroline is devastated she missed that putt on 18, but she hit a good putt, maybe just a bit firm.

“I think it’s going to be pretty tight again tomorrow, just like the first two days. It’s just going to come down to that one long putt, a chip-in, just a something. You can see the momentum changes sometimes on the leaderboard. I think it will be a small thing that can change it one way or the other.”

In the morning foursomes, Team USA were the first to add to their points tally when Morgan Pressel and Alex beat Anna Nordqvist and Van Dam 2&1, and in the final group the Korda sisters, Nelly and Jessica, comfortably beat Ciganda and Bronte Law 6&5.

Matches two and three went Europe’s way though, Charley Hull and Munoz seeing off Kang and Megan Khang 4&3 and Boutier and Hall easing to a 3&2 victory over Lizette Salas and Ally McDonald.

Munoz and Hull were six up through 11 holes, and despite losing the 12th and 13th closed out the match on the 15th.

The last time The Solheim Cup was all square heading into the singles was in 2011, when Europe emerged victorious at Killeen Castle in Ireland.

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