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Captain Suzann Pettersen was almost lost for words after Europe maintained a brilliant fightback to head into the final day of the 18th Solheim Cup needing six points to retain the trophy.
After losing the opening foursomes 4-0 on Friday, Pettersen’s side rallied to win eight of the 12 points available to level the scores at 8-8 and keep alive their hopes of an unprecedented third straight win in the biennial contest.
“I’m out of words, but we have to remember we’re not there (yet),” Pettersen told Sky Sports.
“There’s still 12 points up for grabs tomorrow but we made quite a comeback, now we’re tied and now we just put it into fifth gear and we keep going.”
Both sides won two of the Saturday morning foursomes before the home side took the fourballs session 3-1 for the second day running, home favourite Carlota Ciganda delighting the large crowds with her third win from three matches.
Ciganda partnered Swedish rookie Linn Grant to a 2&1 victory over Danielle Kang and two-time major winner Lilia Vu, the European pair covering the front nine in eight under par with Grant being an incredible six under on her own ball.
Leona Maguire and Charley Hull had earlier combined to beat Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 4&3, while Madelene Sagstrom and Emily Pedersen defeated Rose Zhang and Andrea Lee 2&1.
The only win for the United States came courtesy of Cheyenne Knight and Angel Yin, who defeated Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall – who had sat out the first three sessions – on the 18th.Maguire, who will be one of three European players to contest all five sessions, said: “One more day to give it our best shot and I think that’s the great thing about this team, there’s so much fight. We’ve never given up.
“I said to Suzann I needed someone with energy for this afternoon and Charley has lots of it. We had a lot of fun, lots of chats, lots of good times with the caddies, and so it was just a really enjoyable walk out there.”
Hull, who has played just twice as she nurses a neck injury, added: “I sprained my neck earlier in the week, sort of a facet sprain, and still hurts a little bit, but it’s gotten a lot better.
“But playing with Leona today was great fun. She’s always in the game and she played unbelievable.”Grant and fellow Swede Maja Stark had earlier secured a vital win in the foursomes to keep their side just two points adrift of the United States after the third session.
Ciganda had led from the front as she partnered Pedersen to victory over Vu and Jennifer Kupcho, but defeats for Maguire and Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier gave the visitors a 7-4 lead until Grant and Stark closed out their match with Kang and Lee in brilliant fashion.
Stark holed from 25 feet for birdie on the 17th to move one up and, with their opponents in close on the par-five 18th, Grant holed from 10 feet for birdie to seal the win.
Grant told Sky Sports: “It’s amazing. The last two holes gives us so much momentum. We’re on such a high right now, it feels great.”
The close friends had lost the opening foursomes on Friday and were split up for the afternoon fourballs, but repaid the faith of Europe captain Pettersen on Saturday.
“It’s so much fun, especially getting that confidence from Suzann putting us together,” Stark said. “Two rookies has got to be a little hard for her to put out in the first group yesterday.
“I think there were a lot of nerves involved on the first few holes yesterday and getting to play with her (Grant) again is just amazing and I knew that we could do it. It was just about letting loose and just doing it.”
Nordqvist and Maguire had been two up after eight holes against Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang, but bogeyed the ninth, 10th and 11th to fall behind.
A birdie on the 15th got the European pair back on level terms, only for them to bogey the 17th as Nordqvist appeared to choose the wrong club and fired her tee shot into a bunker at the back of the green.
Hall and Boutier, who had surrendered their unbeaten record on day one, never recovered from losing the first two holes to Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz and were unsurprisingly left out of the afternoon fourballs.
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