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Europe maintain Solheim Cup lead over US

Date: 4-6 September Venue: Inverness Golf Club, Toledo, Ohio
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website from 12:30 BST on Saturday and Sunday, from 16:00 on Monday plus hour-long highlights show on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online.

Defending champions Europe take a 5½-2½ lead over the US into day two of the Solheim Cup despite a controversial ruling benefitting Nelly Korda in Ohio.

The American had a putt stop on the edge of the hole and Madelene Sagstrom was penalised for picking up the ball too early and thus lost the hole.

Korda and Ally Ewing went on to win the afternoon fourball match by one hole.

However, Europe drew the second session 2-2 to retain their healthy advantage after dominating the morning foursomes.

Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren claimed their second point of Saturday with a comfortable 4&3 victory over Lexi Thompson and Mina Harigae.

Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas recorded a final-hole win against Carlota Ciganda and Sophia Popov to win the US’ second match but Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire beat Yealimi Noh and Brittany Altomare by one hole.

Unlucky for some – US benefit on the 13th hole

The fourball encounter between Nelly Korda, Ewing and the European pairing of Madelene Sagstrom and Nanna Koerstz Madsen was tied when rule 13.3 came into play and handed the Americans the advantage.

However, while a clearly emotional Sagstrom conceded she had not followed the rules – that allow a player a ‘reasonable time’ to reach the hole and 10 seconds to see if the ball drops – she felt aggrieved by the decision.

“I do believe in integrity and honour the game of golf. I would never pick up a putt that had a chance to go in.

“I personally don’t agree with the decision of the ball being on the edge [of the hole] but I didn’t follow the 10-second rule, so it sucks right now because I feel like I let my team down.”

World number one Nelly Korda added: “That situation was unfortunate and you don’t want to win a hole like that. We had no say in it. It was all up to the rules officials.”

Europe dominate early on

Mel Reid and rookie Leona Maguire inflicted a first Solheim Cup defeat on the Korda sisters as Europe dominated the opening foursomes in Ohio.

Reid and Maguire’s victory felt like a massive blow, against the US’ “golden pairing” of Nelly Korda and her sister Jessica, who had asked their captain Pat Hurst to pair them together after they won both their foursomes matches at Gleneagles in 2019 by wide margins.

The European pair took an early two-hole advantage but, roared on by a vociferous home crowd, Jessica chipped in on the 13th to close the gap before Maguire closed out the win on the 18th.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my Solheim career,” Maguire said.

“I think everybody had written us off today, and we just sort of took that in our stride and wanted to be as relentless and fearless as possible, and I feel like we did that.”

Women’s Open champion Nordqvist and Finnish rookie Castren set the tone with a battling victory, winning the first point by a hole against Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst. They were two up after four but trailed by one after nine holes. However, they won three holes on the trot from the 13th to restore their lead and held on for the win.

The hosts had appeared set to get back on level terms with Ewing and Megan Khang two up with two to play against Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier, who were unbeaten at Gleneagles in 2019.

However, Hall holed from 15 feet for birdie to win the 17th and a par was good enough on the last because Ewing nudged a three-foot putt to win the match past the hole.

And Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen fought back to beat Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare as Europe began with a flourish.

Hull and Pedersen superbly recovered from two down with four to play, making birdies at the 15th and 16th before a match-winning three from the Dane on the 18th.

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