Sorenstam and Davies rally to peg back US

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The Independent Online

Neither Annika Sorenstam nor Laura Davies, the leading point scorers in the history of the Solheim Cup, had ever suffered two defeats in the same day. That it appeared both might yesterday showed how parlous the home side's position was on the opening day of this year's match.

But both escaped with a half each as Europe, after being down in all the fourballs at one stage, dramatically grabbed a share of the afternoon session to limit America's lead to just one point at 4-3.

Sorenstam has had a miserable season on the course by her high standards thanks to a neck injury, but the former world No 1 remains of champion class and never stopped battling. It was her par at the 18th in the fourballs that snatched a half point from her day's efforts.

She and fellow Swede Maria Hjorth were two-down to Angela Stanford and Stacy Prammanasudh but although they won the 10th they simply could not draw level any earlier than at the last. In one spell of four holes, three of them were halved in birdies.

Earlier, in the morning foursomes, Sorenstam and Scotland's Catriona Matthew had faced the best golf from the Americans in the form of Sherri Steinhauer and Laura Diaz. Though the Europeans had drawn level at the 10th, the experienced Americans produced four birdies in five holes to win 4 and 2.

So much for the wet and windy conditions suiting the home side. Europe led in only two matches all day.

Hjorth and Gwladys Nocera won the last of the foursomes, while Matthew and Iben Tinning came from two down after six holes to win the first of the fourballs. They won six out of the last 10 holes for a 4 and 2 victory secured with Matthew's close tee shot at the par-three 16th.

Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson levelled the top foursomes against Pat Hurst and Cristie Kerr at the 17th and were favourite to win the last, after a fine approach by Pettersen, but had to settle for a point as America took the session 2-1.

Davies and her rookie partner Becky Brewerton were on terms with Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer until the 16th but suffered successive double bogeys. Back at the testing 16th in the fourballs, all four members of the last match failed to reach the green. Davies was in the worst position of all but conjured a brilliant recovery from the undergrowthto bring her and Trish Johnson level with Creamer and Morgan Pressel, and they secured the half in near darkness.

"Given the circumstances that's one of my best par-saves ever," Davies said. "The first shot was a hack- and-hope but it was special to hole the next chip. It was a 500-1 chance but we didn't want to go two-down going to the 17th and that was important for the team. To be only one point behind overall is not bad considering all day there seemed to be red on the board."

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