Europe's women have scent of victory

Solheim Cup: American team have mountain to climb to retain trophy as they struggle in stormy Scotland

On a day dominated by dark, threatening skies and thunderous downpours, it was little wonder Loch Lomond eventually gave in to the elements on the second days' play in the Solheim Cup.

On a day dominated by dark, threatening skies and thunderous downpours, it was little wonder Loch Lomond eventually gave in to the elements on the second days' play in the Solheim Cup.

When play was finally halted at 3.29pm, Europe had increased their three-point overnight lead by a further two points, taking the first two fourballs to stand 7 1/2 - 2 1/2 ahead.

The remaining four ties are due to be completed this morning, with the dozen remaining singles matches following thereafter. Should no play be possible, the tournament will spill over to tomorrow, but if the weather intervenes for a third straight day, the current result will stand and Europe will win the trophy for the first time since 1992.

Autumn in Scotland can be beautiful, and although the loch's majesty continued to radiate through the rain, there was little aesthetic pleasure for the public to gain from the mud-churned walkways which quickly resembled battlefields of the Somme.

The contest was originally scheduled for two weeks ago but American TV network NBC, who are broadcasting the tournament in the States, requested the delay so they could give prominence to the Olympics. Whether that would have made a difference is debatable because the weather at the end of September was no better than it is now. So with typical British resolve, the majority of yesterday's astonishing 14,628 spectators popped open their brolleys and got on with it.

The rain also brought problems for the players already trying to cope with a testing golf course playing its full 6,338 yards. Aside from waiting for greens to be be cleared by one of the 45 squeegees, there were also pin placement alterations on the ninth, 11th and 14th as the original ones threatened to submerge.

On the sixth green another delay materialised when Nancy Scranton's caddie dropped his towel on the ball. Match referee Andy Lott deemed the ball to have been moved and Scranton incurred a one-stroke penalty.

It did not unduly affect matters as partner Michele Redman won the hole for the Americans with a birdie four, but it all added to the time taken to get round, in some cases around three-and-half hours for nine holes.

It is normal for fourball golf in major international contests to take a long time and this was certainly no different although, to be fair, every shot had to be preceded by a routine of cleaning the ball, finding a dry spot on the fairway to drop, warming the hands and wiping the grips.

It might have taken a while but to the players' credit some of the golf was worth waiting for, especially in the top match, which saw Sweden's Sophie Gustafson and England's Trish Johnson run out 3 and 2 winners over Rosie Jones and Becky Iverson.

Gustafson, a 26-year-old from Saro, might suffer from a severe stammer, but when she lets her clubs do the talking she is flawless. The Swede proved that point with a superb outward half featuring four birdies in a row from the third, providing the foundation for the victory.

If that was impressive, the highlight of the round came at the 207-yard 11th hole where she smashed a three-wood tee shot into the teeth of the driving rain to 20 feet from the pin before holing for a birdie two.

Ironically it was Johnson who provided the winning putt on the 16th, holing from two feet for a birdie four, but she was quick to credit Gustafson's role. "It is incredibly easy to gel with someone who is playing out of her skin," said Johnson. "Obviously she has played this well most of the year but to do it two or three days on the trot is not easy."

Johnson also put some perspective on what it would mean to the European side to pick up the Solheim Cup for only the second time.

"I think we just get sick of getting beaten, to be honest," she said. "We all play over there [America] and it's not much fun every two years when you go back and you know what they're thinking."

The Swedish influence continued in the second tie thanks to Helen Alfredsson, viewed in some quarters as a controversial wild-card selection by captain Dale Reid and who was involved in an injury scare in the run-up to the event when she cut her left hand after slipping on gravel.

The former Womens' British Open champion was partnered by Alison Nicholas but the pint-sized English girl's role was largely as cheerleader as Alfredsson produced six birdies in 15 holes to help the European duo beat Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer 3 and 2.

In the unfinished matches, there was further encouragement for the European cause. Lotte Neumann and Patricia Lebouc stood one-up on Dottie Pepper and Brandie Burton after 13 holes, the same lead held by Laura Davies and Raquel Carriedo over Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel at the same stage.

The only losing European pairing were Janice Moodie and Annika Sorenstam, one-down to Pat Hurst and Kelly Robbins after 12.

However, the fact the home duo had been three down after nine put a bright face on the statistic.

Sunday Singles

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

Results from the Solheim Cup with two matches completed and four others suspended because of rain at the Loch Lomond Golf Club:

Europe 7 1/2, United States 2 1/2

Saturday Fourball

Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson, Europe, def. Rosie Jones and Becky Iverson, United States, 3 and 2.

Alison Nicholas and Helen Alfredsson, Europe, def. Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, United States, 3 and 2.

Nancy Scranton and Michele Redman, United States level with Catrin Nilsmark and Carin Koch, Europe (14 holes).

Lisolette Neumann and Patricia Meunier Lebouc, Europe, 1-up on Dottie Pepper and Brandie Burton, United States (13 holes).

Laura Davies and Raquel Carriedo, Europe, 1-up on Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, United States (13 holes).

Pat Hurst and Kelly Robbins, United States, 1-up on Annika Sorenstam and Janice Moodie, Europe (12 holes).

Friday

Morning Session - Foursomes

Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas, Europe, def. Dottie Pepper and Juli Inkster, United States, 4 and 3.

Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson, Europe, def. Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst, United States, 3 and 2.

Catrin Nilsmark and Carin Koch, Europe, def. Brandie Burton and Becky Iverson, United States, 2 and 1.

Annika Sorenstam and Janice Moodie def. Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, United States, 1-up.

Afternoon Session

Becky Iverson and Rosie Jones, def. Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas, Europe, 6 and 5.

Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, United States halved Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson, Europe.

Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst, United States, def. Liselotte Neumann and Helen Alfressson, Europe, 1-up.

Janice Moodie and Annika Sorenstam, Europe, def. Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, United States, 1-up.

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 hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert