Europe hold commanding Solheim Cup lead

Europe's women held a commanding five-point lead over the United States and were on the verge of their first Solheim Cup title in eight years as four washed-out matches were completed today.

Europe's women held a commanding five-point lead over the United States and were on the verge of their first Solheim Cup title in eight years as four washed-out matches were completed today.

Europe, which has won only once in the women's version of the Ryder Cup, led the American 9 1/2-4 1/2 going into Sunday's 12 crucial singles matches. Europe needs 13 1/2 points to claim the cup and the Americans need 13 to retain it with one point at stake in each match.

The underdog Europeans took an unprecedented 4-0 lead after Friday's first session of foursomes (alternate shot) and never looked back. They led 5 1/2-2 1/2 after Friday and the lead grew to five points points when they won the first two fourball (best-ball) matches on Saturday before driving rain washed out play.

The remaining four best-ball matches were completed on a Sunday morning under clear skies with Europe holding its lead.

The Swedish pair of Carin Koch and Catrin Nilsmark, in a match that was level after 14 when it was rained outwashed out, birdied the next three holes when play resumed to beat Nancy Scranton and Michele Redman 2 and 1.

Lisolette Neumann and Patricia Muenier Lebouc, 1-up when play was called, halved with Dottie Pepper and Brandie Burton.

The biggest controversy in the three-day event came when Swede Annika Sorenstam chipped in from 25 feet off the 13th green for what appeared to be a birdie. But the Americans protested that she had played out of turn - meaning she was not the farthest from the hole.

Sorenstam, who broke down in tears and was consoled by partner Janice Moodie, replayed the shot and just missed. American Pat Hurst - playing with Kelly Robbins - dropped her short birdie putt to increase the lead to two holes.

Hurst and Robbins went on to win 2 and 1 for the only U.S. victory in fourball.

"It is just really sad when you have tournaments like this," Sorenstam said. "It is sad to see that the ugly part of them came out because both Pat and Kelly are the nicest they have. It is just sad to see that - that they don't even have sportsmanship."

"Annika was very upset," said European captain Dale Reid. "She thought she had been given the nod to go ahead. By the time Kelly (Robbins) got around to her putt she realized that Annika had played out of turn."

Tournament director Ian Randell said there was no indication there had been any communication prior to the shot being played between the players" and said American captain Pat Bradley made the decision to ask for the replay.

Match referee Barb Trammell said the paced off the distances afterwards and Sorenstam was about 1 1/2 yard closer to the pin. Trammell said she didn't see Robbins give Sorenstam the go-ahead to play.

The incident, although the Americans were within their rights to call the shot back, created what Trammell called "obviously a tense situation" for the rest of the match and cast the U.S. as a win-at-all costs team.

In the final match, the Americans let a half point slip away when Beth Daniel, playing with Meg Mallon, missed a 5-foot birdie on the 18th to win the match against Laura Davies and Raquel Carriedo. They havled the match.

In Saturday's fourball matches, Trish Johnson and Swede Sophie Gustafson stayed unbeaten in three matches, beating Rosie Jones and Becky Iverson 3 and 2. Nicholas and Helen Alfredsson beat Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer 3 and 2 with Alfredsson, playing poorly most of the season, racking up six birdies.

With Sunday's singles threatened by rain, both captains loaded their singles lineups with the top players leading off. The lineup: Juli Inkster, United States, vs. Annika Sorenstam, Europe; Brandie Burton, United States, vs. Sophie Gustafson, Europe; Beth Daniel, United States, vs. Helen Alfredsson, Europe; Dottie Pepper, United States, vs. Trish Johnson, Europe; Kelly Robbins, United States, vs. Laura Davies, Europe; Pat Hurst, United States, vs. Lisolette Neumann, Europe.

Sherri Steinhauer, United States, vs. Alison Nicholas, Europe; Meg Mallon, United States, vs. Patricia Meunier Lebouc, Europe; Rosie Jones, United States, vs. Catrin Nilsmark, Europe; Becky Iverson, United States, vs. Raquel Carriedo, Europe; Michele Redman, United States, vs. Carin Koch, Europe; Nancy Scranton, United States, vs. Janice Moodie, Europe.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there