PARKER, Colo. (AP) – The chants of “USA! USA!'' ringing through the 15th green shifted to “While we're young! While we're young!''
For 25 minutes Friday at the Solheim Cup, Americans Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson paced around, putters in hand, bending and flexing to stay loose. They were waiting first for European Carlota Ciganda to find her ball, which was lodged in knee-high scrub in a hazard, then for a cadre of rules officials to tell Ciganda where it was legal to drop.
“That's not golf,'' Lewis said.
By the time it was over, Ciganda had taken her drop, hit to 15 feet on the fringe above the hole and salvaged a par.
After the delay, Thompson needed three shots to get down from 50 feet and Lewis needed two putts from 20. A sure win that would have put the Americans 1 up instead turned into a disappointing tie. Over the next half-hour, a lead that had once stood at 2 up was a 1-down defeat. What looked like a sure point for the U.S. instead went into the Europe column, and the Europeans went home after Day 1 with a 5-3 lead.
Lewis, who won the Women's British Open earlier this month, lost both of her opening-day matches. Still steaming when the day was over, she confronted rules officials on the 18th green, but didn't get any satisfaction there, either.
“It took way too long,'' she said. “It killed the momentum of our match, it killed the momentum of the matches behind us and it's just not what you want the rules officials to ever do.''
Lewis and Thompson, playing in the first match of the afternoon, were about two holes ahead of the foursome behind them when they got to the 15th tee box. By the time they putted, there were three groups stacked on the par-5 hole.
“It's hard to just stand there because we're not doing anything, and all of the sudden, you wait 25 minutes to hit a putt,'' Lewis said.
In addition to the amount of time the ruling took, Lewis was also miffed that rules officials, in trying to find the point where Ciganda's ball entered the hazard, used a laser yardage-measuring device to essentially give the Spaniard the distance to the flag. However, Ciganda eventually dropped from an entirely different spot.
Lewis, who at No. 2 is the highest-ranked woman in the entire tournament, conceded it was hard to overcome the delay and the frustration.
“Unfortunately, it just killed the afternoon for everybody,'' Lewis said.
ALL ACES: When looking for tips on how to handle the pressure, 20-year-old Solheim Cup rookie Jessica Korda didn't have to look far.
On one hand she had her playing partner, Morgan Pressel, whose 8-2-2 mark is good for the best winning percentage among America's active players. On the other, Korda has her dad, Petr Korda, the Czech native and 1998 Australian Open champion who was a stalwart on his Davis Cup teams in the 1980s and `90s.
Shortly before the start of their victory Friday morning over Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, Petr Korda spoke with his daughter about the pressures of team play.
“Dad and I have talked more these past two days about how he felt and what he did,'' said Jessica Korda, who was born in Florida and is an American citizen. “I have a pretty good idea of how to handle myself, but he's played much bigger crowds than I can ever imagine in one room.''
A GOOD MATCH: One reason behind U.S. captain Meg Mallon's pairing for foursomes was the golf ball. Jessica Korda is the only American who uses a TaylorMade ball, and she was struggling to find a partner whose golf ball she could use.
Morgan Pressel, who uses a Callaway, agreed to give the TaylorMade a try to see if she could play with Korda.
“I went to a store and paid $50 for a dozen – haven't done that in a long time,'' Pressel said. “I played with it at home, and it was OK.''
So they became partners. And they won the only point for the American in the Friday morning foursomes.
But get this – they wound up using the Callaway, anyway.
Korda found that she could use Pressel's golf ball just fine, even though it had a slightly firmer feel.
SOLHEIM SPIRIT: Korda was embarrassed about throwing up to the side of the first fairway Friday morning, and she was determined to keep it a secret.
When asked about it, her shoulders slumped as said, “Everybody knows already?''
Well, yes. Everyone was talking about before she finished playing the second hole. And they all had some fun with her misfortune – and not just the Americans.
“Suzann Pettersen came up to me and held open her head cover and goes, `You need this?''' Korda said.
SEVE AND SERGIO: Azahara Munoz loves watching the Ryder Cup just as she does playing in the Solheim Cup. So when asked her favorite Ryder Cup player of all time, the Spaniard could think of only one answer.
“I think I have to say Seve. Otherwise, they will kick me out of my country,'' Munoz said.
Munoz was 7 when Seve Ballesteros played in his last Ryder Cup. The great Spaniard died two years ago. As for contemporaries, she stuck with the Spanish flag in naming Sergio Garcia.
“When I started playing golf, Sergio was an amateur but he was winning everything in Europe,'' she said. “Even though he was an amateur, I don't know why, I always liked him a lot. And then when he turned pro he was really young, and then played really well at the PGA. So everybody was following him. And I've alreays really liked him.''
SHORT SHOTS: Prior to losing their foursomes match in the morning, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer were undefeated as a team. … Morgan Pressel extended her Solheim Cup winning streak to six straight matches. … In this, the year of the rookie, America's first-timers went 1-3 in their debut matches. Europe's went 3-3.