Europe weather storm to lead USA by two in Solheim Cup

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Europe withstood a US surge in morning foursomes, winning two fourball matches and halving another Sunday to take a two-point lead into Monday's decisive singles matches in the Solheim Cup.

The United States had stormed back into contention in the biennial match play showdown at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, winning three of the four morning foursomes to move within one point of defending champions Europe.

After being outplayed on Saturday as Europe powered into the lead, the US women rallied superbly to change the complexion of the contest, leaving Europe with a slender 6 1/2 to 5 1/2 point lead heading into the afternoon fourballs.

Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae then won the first afternoon fourball match, beating Celine Boutier and Sophia Popov 3&1 to pull the Americans level.

Europe regained the advantage however, as Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen defeated Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst 3&2 while Carlota Ciganda and Nanna Koerstz Madsen pulled off a 1-up victory over Jessica Korda and Megan Khang.

Americans Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas held a 1-up lead over Mel Reid and Leona Maguire with one to play, but Reid's birdie for the Europeans gave them a valuable half a point.

Irish rookie Maguire and England's Reid had won their foursomes, making an ominous start for the Europeans as they raced away to inflict a 5&4 win over world number one Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing, leaving Europe four points clear.

But Kang and Ernst led the US fightback against Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom, recovering from falling two down in the opening two holes to secure a battling win.

Hall and Sagstrom led 1-up after 10 holes, but back-to-back birdies by Kang and Ernst on the 13th and 14th holes put them ahead, and they finished with four straight pars to hang on for the point.

"It was huge," Ernst said. "We knew we needed to get a point for the team and get it turned early. We knew they send us out first for a reason."

The momentum shift gathered pace in Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare's duel with England's Hull and Denmark's Pedersen.

Hull and Pedersen led by one hole after four, but the US duo restored parity with a birdie on the seventh, and then went ahead when the European pair bogeyed the eighth.

Thompson and Altomare retained a slender 1-up advantage heading to the 17th, and when Pedersen and Hull parred it looked as if the match would be settled on the 18th.

But a magnificent long birdie putt from Thompson on 17 won the hole to give the Americans a 2&1 victory, electrifying the large crowd gathered around the green.

The superb morning for the Americans got better when Salas and Kupcho staged an irresistible late rally to down Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren 3&1.

bb/rcw

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