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USA Juniors surge ahead

September 10, 2019

The PING Junior Solheim Cup is poised for a nailbiting final singles session after the USA edged ahead 7½-4½ on day one thanks to a dominant afternoon fourball session.

The match was tied at 3-3 after the morning foursomes after three convincing wins for the Europeans, but Team USA took control after lunch, winning four and a half points from six in the fourball format.

Europe has not won the competition since 2007 – when Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Hedwall were in the team – but gave a strong showing in the opening session. Scotland’s own Hannah Darling and her English partner Annabell Fuller put the home side’s first point on the board with a 4&3 victory against Sadie Englemann and Lucy Li.

English duo Lily May Humphreys and Mimi Rhodes won by the same margin against Amanda Sambach and Alexa Pano, and it was also a 4&3 rout for Italian Benedetta Moresco and Lucie Malchirand of France against Zoe Campos and Rose Zhang.

The Americans kept in touch though with 1 up wins for Michaele Morard and Rachel Heck over Pia Babnik and Alessia Nobilio, and Briana Chacon and Brianna Navarrosa against Lilas Pinthier and Paula Schulz-Hanssen, while Phoebe Brinker and Christine Wang saw off Danish pair Amalie Leth-Nissen and Anne Normann 4&3.

In the afternoon it was a different story, however. Darling and Fuller lost by one hole to Englemann and Heck, Babnik and Nobilio were downed 3&1 to Morard and Zhang, Sambach and Chacon defeated Humphreys and Rhodes 2&1, and Li and Wang saw off Moresco and Malchirand (also 2&1).

Pinthier and Schulz-Hanssen snatched a half point against Pano and Brinker, and there was a change in fortune for the Danes, Leth-NIssen and Norman, who beat Campos and Navarrosa 4&3.

European Captain Mickey Walker said: “We played a lot of good golf. The Americans just played better. We made bogeys at a couple of critical points and gave the hole away.

“When we looked on to get something from a match, we’d take three to get down and lose the hole. They were very fine margins but we were the ones making the errors at critical times. The girls know that. Matches can be so tight and then go in an instant.

“The Americans were tighter around the greens and putted better. The girls are very honest with themselves. Pia and Alessia are disappointed because they played really well but they just came up against Americans who played outstanding golf. I think they were six under and the Americans were eight under, so the it was fantastic golf.

“They know and I know that we can still win this, but we’re going to have to play exceptional golf tomorrow.”

Team USA Captain Mary Bea Porter-King said: “Until it’s over it’s not over, there’s a lot of golf to play. There’s 12 singles matches, that can go any way and momentum is a funny thing and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

“These girls have more wisdom than I, I don’t want to even get in their heads, they are confident and I don’t know there is much you can say to them. I have a text from Michelle Wie that I’m going to read to them tonight so I hope that will inspire them. Michelle came out of my junior program in Hawaii and she sent a nice text today, so that will fire them up.”

Wednesday Tee Times

08.00 Hannah Darling vs Lucy Li
08:10 Annabell Fuller vs Michaela Morard
08:20 Alessia Nobilio vs Rose Zhang
08:30 Amalie Leth-Nissen vs Sadie Englemann
08:40 Pia Bapnik vs Rachel Heck
08:50 Lilas Pinthier vs Amanda Sambach
09:00 Lily May-Humphreys vs Briana Chacon
09:10 Mimi Rhodes vs Brianna Navarrosa
09:20 Anne Normann vs Zoe Campos
09:30 Paula Schulz-Hanssen vs Christine Wang
09:40 Benedetta Moresco vs Phoebe Brinker
09:50 Lucie Malchirand vs Alexa Pano