DUNSANY, Ireland (AP) — Suzann Pettersen sank an eight-foot putt on the last hole to give Europe a win in the final foursome and even the score at 2-2 against the United States after the opening session of the Solheim Cup.
The U.S. had trailed in three of the four matches on a windy morning at the Killeen Castle course, but took a 2-1 lead after Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome came back from two down with four holes to play to beat Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid.
Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson lost the 17th hole to be all square with Americans Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang going into the 18th. But Inkster missed a 10-foot birdie putt and the second-ranked Pettersen made hers to pull even.
While the hosts had looked set to take an early lead, European captain Alison Nicholas was happy to come away tied.
“It looked like we were going to go 3-1 ahead and then we lost the second match, and the bottom match lost the 17th to go all square and I thought, ‘This is getting tight,'” Nicholas said. “But Suzann holed an unbelievable putt on the last and that’s what world champions are made of.”
The Americans are looking for their fourth straight victory in the biennial match play series, and Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr gave the visitors an ideal start by beating Swedish duo Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist 2 and 1 in the opening match.
But Europe’s Catriona Matthew and Azahara Munoz responded with a convincing 3 and 2 win over Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford, before the late drama in the last two matches.
Creamer and Lincicome began their comeback with a birdie to win the 15th and the Europeans then collapsed with double bogeys on the last two holes.
“It was a crazy last couple of holes, but we just told ourselves even if we get a half that’s all we’re trying to do is get back,” Creamer said. “We watched it go to one (down), then all square, and to walk away with a win, we’ll take it any day.”
U.S. captain Rosie Jones seemed as pleased as her counterpart with the split result.
“I think we had a good showing this morning, we had a little scary board there for a little while,” Jones said. “But our girls hung tough and came back on one match and almost won that last match, which we ended up losing, but it was pretty good. Really good. Showed a lot of heart there, so that’s a good sign.”