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Pettersen answers doubters to help give Europe the lead

 

Suzann Pettersen
Suzann Pettersen

By Phil Casey

Suzann Pettersen justified her controversial selection as Europe had to settle for a slender 4.5-3.5 lead after the opening day of the 16th Solheim Cup.

Pettersen had played just twice since November 2017 when handed a wildcard by captain Catriona Matthew, since when she finished 59th in the CP Women's Open and missed the cut in the Cambia Portland Classic.

However, the 38-year-old Norwegian produced the goods when it mattered as she partnered rookie Anne van Dam to a 4&2 victory over Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas before a dramatic climax to the fourballs.

After Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall suffered a record-equalling 7&5 loss to Ally McDonald and Angel Yin, Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law fought back from two down with four to play to take the lead up the 18th against Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda, only for Thompson to make birdie and snatch half a point.

And there was more disappointment for the home side in the final match as Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz were unable to convert a four-hole lead with six to play against Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare, who birdied five of the holes and saw Korda almost make a spectacular hole-in-one on the 17th.

Pettersen said: "I felt a bit like Seve (Ballesteros), I was left and right. But when you have a superstar partner who just bombs it, you have to be very happy."

In the morning foursomes, Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were thrashed 6&4 by sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda before the home side fought back with wins from Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier and Hull and Munoz. The first match between Ciganda and Law and Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex was halved.

• Scott Jamieson produced a stunning seven-under par 65 to claim a two-shot lead after the second round at the KLM Open.

He now sits at 11-under par. Sergio Garcia is alongside English trio James Morrison, Callum Shinkwin and Matthew Southgate at nine-under.

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