Not so fast: Europe battles back in Solheim Cup

Anna Nordqvist made a putt on 18 to secure a point for Europe.
Nam Y. Huh/AP

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (AP) Not so fast.

With Michelle Wie and Christina Kim partying on the green and their teammates leading or squared in another two matches, the United States looked as if it was in for a big day at the Solheim Cup. Europe had other ideas, though, making an impressive rally to win the fourballs 2 1/2-1 1/2 and even the Solheim Cup at six points apiece ahead of Saturday afternoon's foursomes.

``It was just phenomenal,'' Europe captain Alison Nicholas said. ``The girls just made a few mistakes but carried on, looking forward.''

The United States needs 14 points to win its third straight Solheim Cup. Europe needs 14 1/2 to win its first on U.S. soil.

Wie and Kim had the already festive crowd in a frenzy with an easy 5-and-4 victory over Helen Alfredsson and Tania Elosegui that showcased Wie's considerable talents. They were still exchanging hugs and high-fives on the 14th green when Cristie Kerr holed in from the fairway on 12 to even her and Nicole Castrale's match with Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Pettersen, and chants of ``The Cup stays here!'' began to ring out across Rich Harvest Farms.

``All you need is a little momentum,'' Kim said.

And Europe has it now.

Women's British Open champion Catriona Matthew and Diana Luna were down two through 16 holes and hadn't made a birdie since the turn. But Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford gave them an opportunity on the 17th. Lang's tee shot went into a bunker and she dug out for all of about 70 feet, while Stanford overshot the green.

Matthew then buried a 30-footer from the left edge of the green for a birdie.

Lang had a chance to win the match, but her 30-foot birdie putt from the bottom of the green stopped 5 feet short. Luna then buried a 12-footer to halve the match, pumping her right fist and leaping as the ball went in the cup.

``It's just amazing,'' said Luna, a Solheim Cup rookie who didn't play Friday. ``Catriona said to me, 'Come on, knock it in for the glory.' I had a great partner, we got really lucky.''

There was more to come, too.

The rookie pumped her fist and yelled when the ball dropped in the hole and Pettersen - who had lost both her matches Friday - jumped up and down.

Maria Hjorth and Gwladys Nocera were 3-up after 10, but Brittany Lincicome and Kristy McPherson made three straight birdies to even the match through 15. But Hjorth put her tee shot within 18 inches on the par-3 16th, and knocked it in for what would be the decisive birdie.

``You really just have to start making putts,'' Hjorth said of how they kept their composure. ``If you make putts, they get a little bit quieter, so that's how you've got to pump yourself up. That's all you can do really, and just try not to listen to them too much.''

The turnaround overshadowed Wie and Kim's impressive performance. Down 2 after 2 holes, Kim stuffed her tee shot on the par-3 No. 3 to 4 feet. Kim held up her index finger and wagged it, and she and Wie bumped hips as they left the green.

``That opened the door to let this girl know, we're going after it,'' Kim said.

That they did.

The expectations on Wie have been huge since she was in grade school, and she showed Saturday just how formidable she can be. She put an approach shot within 18 inches from 149 yards out on the sixth hole, starting a run that gave the Americans four straight holes.

Her drives were impressive, as always, and she showed a deftness with her short game. Perhaps most impressive was how animated she was. When she got up-and-down from the gallery on No. 4 to halve the match, she screamed, pumped her fists and pointed at her parents.

After Alfredsson missed a 10-footer to end the match on 14, it was Wie who turned to the crowd and put one hand to her ear, asking for louder cheers.

``We just had a ball out there,'' Wie said. ``It was just fun.''

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