(Reuters) - The United States roared back from a one-point morning deficit, sweeping all four afternoon four-ball matches to claim a three-point lead over Europe after Friday’s opening day of the Solheim Cup at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club.
It marked the first sweep of a Solheim Cup session by a U.S. team and their 5-1/2 to 2-1/2 advantage represented their biggest lead after an opening day since the 1998 edition at Muirfield Village.
Spearheading the U.S. charge were Lizette Salas and rookie Angel Yin, who crushed Carlota Ciganda and Emily Pedersen 6&5, tying the second widest winning margin in a four-ball match, just shy of the 7&5 win by Pat Hurst and Rosie Jones in 1998.
U.S. captain Juli Inkster said she did not care about the significance of her team’s fightback.
“We want the history on Sunday night. We want the cup,” she told Golf Channel. “We’ve got a lot of work.
“I know Annika (Sorenstam) is going to fire that team up and we just need to come out and keep doing what we’re doing.”
Salas produced a stunning front nine as she made five birdies, including three in the first three holes. Salas and Yin were eight-under through the 13 holes they played.
“I didn’t putt the way I wanted to this morning,” said Salas, who partnered with Danielle Kang in the only U.S. win in the morning’s alternate shot format. “I felt like this afternoon was my redemption round.”
Other disappointed U.S. players also bounced back.
Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, who lost 1-up to Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew in the morning, returned to defeat Georgia Hall and Charley Hull 2&1.
Kang joined good friend Michelle Wie to register a 3&1 win against Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Madelene Sagstrom, and Women’s PGA champion Kang once again drained critical putts to lead the way to victory.
Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang combined for four birdies to defeat Caroline Masson and Florentyna Parker 3&2.
Anna Nordqvist, who teamed with Hall in the foursomes for a comfortable 3&1 victory over Americans Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, sat out the afternoon session.
Europe’s captain Sorenstam said the U.S. side played great, but remained upbeat about fighting back.
“If they can do it, we can do it,” the Swede said.
“We’ll go home, take a shower, regroup, get a good sleep and be ready for tomorrow.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in Tampa; Editing by Christian Radnedge/Greg Stutchbury