Saturday, September 15, 2007

Solheim Saturday – Morning Matches

The U.S. recovered from a rough start, threatened to extend their lead, and then had to settle for maintaining their one-point lead at the Solheim Cup, 6.5 to 5.5. The foursome scores:

Hurst/Stanford over Tinning/Hauert 4&2
Steinhauer/Diaz halved with Hjorth/Nocera
Inkster/Creamer halved with Pettersen/Gustafson
Castrale/Kerr lost to Sorenstam/Matthew 1 up

Play was delayed for over two hours by wind and even during play the wind was gusting towards 40 mph. For awhile there, it appeared that the U.S. team’s main objective was to visit every greenside bunker Halmstad has to offer, and the Euros were leading in three of the four matches.

Tinning/Hauert trailed by three after four holes but rallied to go up by one at the turn. Hurst/Stanford took 13, 14 and 15 to go 3 up. When Hauert missed a bogey putt at 16, the match was conceded.

Steinhauer/Diaz trailed by two after five but took the lead at 10, lost it at 11, then regained it at 12. Diaz missed a short putt that would have won 14 but they went two up when Hjorth/Nocera bogeyed 15. When Steinhauer lipped out a bogey putt at 16, the lead was one and another short miss at 18 allowed Hjorth to halve the match with a four-footer. Oops! TGC didn’t cut away to commercial quickly enough after this sequence to prevent us from hearing Dottie exclaim “Choking freaking dogs!” I hope Sherri and Laura don’t take that kind of stuff personally!

Inkster/Creamer vs. Pettersen/Gustafson was tight all the way. The Yanks didn’t lead until 15 when Pettersen’s tee shot was lost in the woods. There might have been a hundred people wandering through the brush looking for that ball. Creamer nearly let them back into the hole with a poor second but Inkster’s third hit the pin for a gimme par to go 1 up. Pettersen missed a seven-footer at 17 that would have squared it, but redeemed herself with an approach at 18 that just missed rolling in the hole. Gustafson dropped the six-footer for birdie to halve this match too.

Sorenstam and Matthew never trailed and were dominating by five through the first 12 holes. At least three times Kerr missed putts within five feet that would have halved. Castrale/Kerr won 13-15 to get within two, but Kerr came up just short on a birdie try at 16 while Matthew recovered nicely to set up a par and go dormie. At 17 Castrale hit the pin with her approach allowing Kerr to make a three-footer to draw within one. Castrale had eight feet at 18 to halve the match but missed it just right. Matthew secured the point by making from just over two feet.

Castrale’s tee shot at 16 Friday afternoon looks an absolute miracle now. Every other group that’s gone through this hell hole has struggled to just make bogey. There have only been eight pars there so far, including Laura Davies’ Friday chip in. It’s certainly my favorite hole of this event.

The afternoon four-ball matches will be:
Gulbis/Castrale vs Davies/Brewerton
Creamer/Lincicome vs Hjorth/Wessberg
Inkster/Prammanasudh vs Johnson/Tinning
Kerr/Pressel vs Sorenstam/Pettersen

Wessberg finally gets in. Kerr, Creamer, Sorenstam and Hjorth will be playing their fourth matches, which means they will all play their fifth in singles tomorrow. Darkness will probably prevent them from finishing the four-ball matches until Sunday morning.

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