Burton hops back into Solheim picture

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The Independent Online
Brandie Burton, the American Solheim Cup player who severely sprained her right ankle when she fell during practice on Tuesday, is still hoping to be fit for the start of the match against the Europeans tomorrow, writes Andy Farrell from St Pierre.

A limping Burton had three ice treatments and played 12 holes yesterday, saying: "As long as I take the right precautions, I should be OK for Friday."

Burton, 24, the youngest player on either side yet in her third match, successfully partnered Dottie Pepper to two wins out of two in the foursomes and fourballs when the Americans won at The Greenbrier two years ago. However, the switch to a Ryder Cup format means morning and afternoon play on the first two days. Though four of the 12-strong teams miss out on any one session, each player has to play at least once before Sunday's singles.

"When I fell over, I was scared at first," Burton said. "There was a loud snap and I was shaking all over. Ten years ago I injured the same ankle in a softball game and was on crutches for weeks."

Burton's captain, Judy Rankin, added: "It was a freak accident, but it was heartening when she came bopping down the hall to breakfast this morning."

A continuation of yesterday's strong winds may lead players to curtail their practice today. The European captain, Mickey Walker, admitting the American tour has a greater strength in depth, denied the expansion of the format from 20 to 28 matches hurt her team's chances of winning back the cup.

"If there were six more players involved, it might be different, but we have 12 great players and I still believe we can win this week," Walker said. "In both the Solheim and the Ryder Cups, Europe has proved that the rankings don't count for much when it comes to matchplay.

"It's going to be tougher. There are decisions to be made twice a day and some of them will have to be made quickly. That's a little bit daunting, but exciting, too."

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