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US fights back but European girls stay ahead

Europe built a one-point lead over the United States on the first day of the 12th Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle.

The Americans showed their fighting spirit throughout both the morning foursomes and Friday fourballs despite their hosts closing with a lead of 4 1/2 - 3 1/2.

The teams had been locked at 2-2 following the foursomes.

Europe began the afternoon strongly with Caroline Hedwall and Sophie Gustafson edging them in front with a 5&4 win against Brittany Lincicome and Vicky Hurst.

"I think we have a good team, and I think Sophie and I make a good pair. I'm not surprised we won," said Hedwall.

Crucial, though, was Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist winning one up on the last against Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie to end the day on a high for Alison Nicholas' Europe.

Paula Creamer, unbeaten in her two outings, had helped make it such a close-run thing for Rosie Jones' United States when she and Morgan Pressel came from behind to beat Melissa Reid and Laura Davies on the final hole.

Davies admitted: "We were great tee to green, just didn't make the putts. There's nothing you can do when they start making theirs and they go right in the middle."

The other tie, between Catriona Matthew and Sandra Gal and America's Ryan O'Toole and Christina Kim, ended all square.

In the earlier foursomes the hosts had been expected to ultimately build a lead but the United States showed spirit to claim an even share by its conclusion.

The first point went to the United States as Kerr and Wie produced a 2&1 win over Maria Hjorth and Nordqvist. However, Matthew and Azahara Munoz won 3&2 against Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis to draw level.

Again the Americans edged ahead as Creamer and Lincicome overcame Karen Stupples and Reid one up but Pettersen and Gustafson showed grit to take a vital win in the final clash for a one-up win of their own against Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang.

It was level going into the 18th but Pettersen rolled in the winner.

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