Europe’s Emily Pedersen Achieves Second-Ever Ace as U.S. Begins with Historic Sweep

Stacy Lewis made the perfect move to kick off the Solheim Cup on Friday morning.

The U.S. team captain, after sitting both Lilia Vu and former Stanford star Rose Zhang for the opening session at Finca Cortesin in southern Spain, led the Americans to a historic sweep.

The U.S. team swept the opening foursome alternate shot matches to take a 4-0 lead over Europe, marking the first time in history that it has taken a 4-0 lead over Europe in the Solheim Cup.

Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang, after winning the first three holes of their match, rolled to a win over Maja Stark and Linn Grant. Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight beat Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen after just 14 holes in their match.

Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz beat Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist by a single hole. Andrea Lea and Danielle Kang — whose clubs were lost getting to Spain earlier in the week — also beat Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall by a hole thanks to a late birdie on No. 17 to grab their win and complete the sweep.

Europe has won the last two Solheim Cups, and took the 2021 event at the Inverness Club in Ohio 15-13. The Europeans have never won three straight Solheim Cups since the event was launched in 1990, though the Americans have accomplished that feat twice — most recently from 2005-2009. The U.S. team last won 16.5-11.5 in 2017 when it was played in Des Moines, Iowa. The group who has won, or at least tied, the first session has won the Solheim Cup in eight of the last 11 outings.

Emily Pedersen is the first person to hit a hole-in-one at the Solheim Cup since 2013. (AP/Bernat Armangue)

Emily Pedersen hits Solheim Cup’s second ever ace

Though they got off to an incredible start, the afternoon four-ball best shot session was nowhere near as dominant for the United States. Hall and Leona Maguire made an eagle at the fourth hole to take an early lead, and they held on in their match to beat Thompson and Vu to secure a point for the Europeans. Carlotta Ciganda and Linn Grant ended their match against Angel Yin and Ally Ewing after just 16 holes, too, for a second point.

Zhang and Khang, despite an early birdie on the opening hole, needed to birdie the par-4 15th to tie the match back up after Gemma Dryburgh and Madeline Sangstrom rallied on the back side to get out of a two-shot hole. The group settled for a tie, taking half a point each.

Though they ended up tying too, it was Pedersen’s group that stole the show on Friday afternoon.

Pedersen, playing alongside Stark, hit just the second hole-in-one in Solheim Cup history. She played the 178-yard par-3 12th perfectly, hitting her tee shot on the slope and rolling it back and in. That sparked a huge celebration on the tee box.

Nordqvist is the only other player to hit an ace at the Solheim Cup. She did so back in 2013. Pedersen is playing in her third Solheim Cup for Europe. The 27-year-old from Denmark holds a 3-6-1 record.

The ace evened Pedersen’s match with Corpuz and Jennifer Kupcho, too. Pederson and Stark made one last birdie at the 16th to keep the tie and take one last half point on the day. The United States closed out the first day with a 5-3 lead.

Action will resume on Saturday with more foursome and four-ball matches before Sunday’s finale with 12 singles matches.

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