First, the good news - the Team USA leads after Day One by 4.5 to 3.5. The bad news is, they only split the four four-ball matches after leading all four of them at one point earlier in the afternoon. The scores were:
Castrale/Kerr over Gustafson/Nocera 3&2
Stanford/Prammanasudh halved with Sorenstam/Hjorth
Creamer/Pressel halved with Johnson/Davies
Hurst/Lincicome lost to Matthew/Tinning 4&2
Nicole Castrale quickly validated her position on the team by winning three holes outright with birdies (one of them by chipping in from off the 7th green) and then forcing the match to be conceded when her tee shot at the par-3 16th ended up just inches from the pin.
The only U.S. loss of the afternoon belonged to Pat Hurst and Brittany Lincicome. Leading by two after 6 and by one after nine, they proceeded to drop five of the next seven holes. Two bogeys and three Team Europe birdies completed the carnage. Stanford and Prammanasudh looked great, never trailed, led by two at the turn and held a one-hole lead going to 18. But then neither could par the final hole and Annika’s par halved the match.
The craziest and most frustrating match was the last one. Creamer and Pressel never trailed either, but they wasted numerous opportunities to expand their early one-hole lead. Pressel missed a four-footer at 7 and amazingly lipped out a two-footer at 13 – both of them for birdie to win the hole. Davies and Johnson had bogeyed to give the U.S. team a hole three times in the first 12, but still Paula and Morgan could not pull away. 16 was the epitome. All four players missed the green – Johnson was in the water and Davies was in the bushes way right of the green. Creamer and Pressel put their seconds on the green with lengthy par putts to come. Davies almost fell down playing her shot, and she flew the green to the rough on the opposite side. Laura then chipped up her third and it rolled right into the hole! Dottie Pepper said it was one of most amazing pars she had ever seen. Creamer couldn’t hole her putt from across the green and Pressel’s terrible putting continued as she missed way short from about 25 feet. They were all-square at that point and after splitting the last two holes, this match was halved.
It could have been worse – Creamer and Pressel could have lost one of those last two holes and the competition would have been tied at 4. Paula played well enough to keep that from happening. Early on I thought the first match could be won despite Lincicome doing absolutely nothing, but evidently Pat couldn’t hold on by herself. I guess the most frustrating thing for me is that the U.S. almost blew them out of the water today after Alfredsson had loaded up with (what she believes is) her “A Team”. Annika played very poorly IMO (Hjorth seemed to be carrying her) and Davies was her typical erratic self. Johnson made some fine shots to help bail them out.
I think you can count on seeing Inkster twice tomorrow, and probably Creamer and Hurst doing the double again too. I’d pair Pressel with Juli tomorrow morning and hope she gets her putting straightened out before Sunday.
UPDATE: The morning pairings are out, and no Pressel. They are:
Steinhauer/Diaz vs. Nocera/Hjorth
Inkster/Creamer vs. Pettersen/Gustafson
Hurst/Stanford vs. Tinning/Hauert
Castrale/Kerr vs. Sorenstam/Matthew
STILL no Linda Wessberg! Something weird going on there. Betsy King kept the two winning foursome pairs from Friday together and matched up four others who didn't play poorly Friday. I wouldn't say Stacy P played poorly, but the other three did.