Finca Cortesin: US Dominates Europe in Opening Session, Leading 4-0

World number three Nelly Korda and US Open champion Allisen Corpuz held their nerve to win on the last

The United States made the perfect start in their quest to regain the Solheim Cup by making a clean sweep of the opening session at Finca Cortesin.

Europe have their “strongest ever team” in Spain, according to captain Suzann Pettersen, as they try win a third successive title for the first time.

But they looked out of sorts as the Americans swept the foursomes 4-0 to quieten the partisan crowd.

“We saw a ton of fight in our girls,” said a jubilant US captain Stacy Lewis.

Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight crushed Europe’s Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen 5&4 to win the first point.

The pairings of Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier and Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist took their matches to the last but both lost by one hole.

Swedish rookies Maja Stark and Linn Grant fought back from losing the first three holes to level but lost 2&1.

It is the first time the US have led after the opening session since 2009 and it is just the second time they have swept a session. For Europe, there will be crumbs of comfort that three of the matches were see-saw battles that could have gone either way.

But it’s impossible to put a completely positive spin on a morning that began with raucous crowds and loud music blaring on the first tee but ended with the home crowd stunned into near silence.

Grant and Stark had demanded that Europe captain Suzann Pettersen put them out first in the format where they share one ball and hit alternate shots, but they got off to a poor start, and could have lost the fourth hole too.

Stark holed short putts on the sixth and 11th holes to drag them back into the match before Grant rolled in from a dozen fee on the 13th to restore parity.

But Lexi Thompson, who has been in poor form this season, repaid the faith shown in her by US skipper Stacy Lewis with an eight-footer to win the 15th and when Grant missed a tiddler on the 17th, the US had a second point on the board.

The first had been posted by Ewing and Knight in the bottom match as they steamrollered Hull and Pedersen.

Hull, who has been battling a neck injury this week, and Pedersen had an error-strewn front nine, losing six holes. They won the 10th with a six-foot birdie putt from Pedersen but it was too little too late.

The middle two matches went to the end, which did not surprise Lewis, who said: “We knew just seeing the pairings that those were going to be tough and fortunately we were on the right side of it.”

Hall and Boutier were always in their match with Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee and there was never more than one hole in it. But Boutier was unable to hole from 15 feet on the last as the Americans won a third point.

In the third match, world number two Nelly Korda had gifted Maguire and Nordqvist the first hole, hitting her opening shot into a lake when attempting to drive the first green.

But Korda and US Open champion Allisen Corpuz won three holes in succession from the third and also took the ninth after the Europeans had drawn level by winning the sixth and seventh.

The US went two ahead by the 11th but Maguire, who was unbeaten in five matches on her Solheim debut in 2021, birdied the 16th to reduce the deficit and rolled in another lengthy putt on the 17th to ensure the match went to the 18th. But Corpuz holed a short one to crush any hopes of Europe salvaging even a half point from the morning.

Friday afternoon features four fourball matches, with the format repeated on Saturday and 12 singles matches to follow on Sunday.

As defending champions, Europe need 14 of the 28 available points to retain the Solheim Cup, while the US need 14½ to regain it for the first time since 2017.

Graphic showing latest score from 2023 Solheim Cup

Graphic showing latest score from 2023 Solheim Cup

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