Europe leading Solheim Cup
The second day of the Solheim Cup is underway, with the Europeans trying to build on a 5-3 lead and the Americans trying to put the confusion that marred their opening day behind them.
American Stacy Lewis was back on the course Saturday, teamed with Paula Creamer in an alternate-shot match against Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher.
Second-ranked Lewis lost both her matches on opening day, including an afternoon best-ball match in which momentum shifted after rules officials allowed Europe’s Carlota Ciganda to take an incorrect drop after she hit her shot into a hazard on the 15th hole.
Ciganda saved par, then she and Suzann Pettersen went on to beat Lewis and Lexi Thompson 1 up.
Rules officials later said they made the wrong call, though Lewis was more upset by the 25 minutes it took to locate Ciganda’s ball and make a ruling.
”I’m very frustrated by the situation,” she said. ”I think there were a lot of things that went wrong within the ruling.”
The LPGA released a statement explaining the ruling: When a player hits into a lateral hazard, one option allows her to take a drop from an equidistant spot from the hole on a different side of the hazard than where the ball entered. However, instead of taking the drop within the required two clubs of the equidistant spot, Ciganda was allowed to keep that point between her and the hole, resulting in a drop about 40 yards behind the legal spot.
Because Ciganda played under the ruling she was given, not knowing it was incorrect, there was no way to change the result of the hole or the match.
”We regret that an incorrect ruling was given and we apologize for any confusion that was caused on the course for the players,” the statement read.
American captain Meg Mallon said it wasn’t so much the ruling, as the amount of time it took to make it, that irritated her. She said it sapped momentum both for the Lewis-Thompson pairing and the Americans behind them.
Before the confusion, Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller had just made their third straight birdie to close their deficit against Caroline Hedwall and Caroline Masson to one. After being stuck on the 15th fairway for nearly a half hour, they didn’t win another hole and fell 2 and 1.
”Here’s my team sitting there, after they are just charging and making a comeback, and then they have to sit,” Mallon said. ”And so, not only does it change the psyche of my team, but it changes the psyche of the other team, because they can have time to regroup.”
Europe is trying to retain the cup and win for the first time on U.S. soil. The team that has held the first-day lead has gone on to win nine of 11 times.
”Not awful,” Mallon called the first-day deficit. ”But we would like to be in better position, and hopefully, we can get all that back tomorrow.”
In Saturday’s alternate-shot matches, Mallon sent out Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda, who won their match Friday morning, against Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.
European captain Liselotte Neumann, meanwhile, kept a winning combination together Saturday, sending Munoz and Icher out against Lewis and Paula Creamer. On Friday, Munoz and Icher strung together 15-foot-plus birdie putts on 8, 9 and 10 to take an insurmountable lead in a 2-and-1 victory over Cristie Kerr and Creamer, handing that power pairing their first loss as a team in four tries.
”It was great to win this match and I think I found a friend forever,” Icher said.
Other pairings Saturday: Catriona Matthew and Caroline Masson against Brittany Lincicome and Lizette Salas; and Pettersen and Beatriz Recari against Michelle Wie and Brittany Lang.