Solheim Cup: Europe and USA level at 8-8 going into final day
Hall and Boutier’s brilliant fightback secures Europe’s only win in the afternoon fourballs.
Europe and the United States were locked together at 8-8 ahead of the final day of the Solheim Cup after a brilliant fightback from Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier in miserable conditions at Gleneagles.
Hall and Boutier were four over par after seven holes and unsurprisingly four down against Ally McDonald and Angel Yin, but fought back to claim their third win together and the home side’s only victory of the afternoon fourballs.
The European pair were still three down with five to play, but Boutier drove the green on the short 14th and holed from 30 feet for an eagle before also making a birdie on the par-five 16th.
Hall’s par on the 17th was enough to move ahead for the first time in the match and a conceded birdie on the last completed the brilliant comeback.
“I’m over the moon,” former Women’s British Open champion Hall said. “We didn’t have the best of starts and the weather was horrendous but we grinded it out and managed to get the job done.”
Rookie Boutier added: “I had the best partner out there and I couldn’t have done it without here, that’s for sure.”
Suzann Pettersen and Anne van Dam had earlier lost a hard-fought contest with Brittany Altomare and Annie Park on the last, while Caroline Masson missed from six feet on the 18th to win her match with Jodi Ewart Shadoff against Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex.
Lizette Salas and Danielle Kang beat the Spanish pair of Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz 2&1 as darkness descended to level the scores at 8-8 ahead of Sunday’s 12 singles matches.
As the holders, the United States need to win six points to retain the trophy and secure an unprecedented hat-trick of victories under captain Juli Inkster.
Europe had earlier held on to their overnight one-point lead after the morning foursomes, despite an extraordinary collapse from Anna Nordqvist and Van Dam.
Nordqvist and Van Dam, the only new foursomes pairing selected by captain Catriona Matthew, were four up after six holes against Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex, only to lose seven of the next nine on their way to a stunning 2&1 defeat.
Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law also suffered a record-equalling 6&5 loss to sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda, but victories for Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz and Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier left the home side narrowly ahead heading into the afternoon fourballs.
Inkster had said none of her team would play all five matches and kept to her word, even though that meant leaving the rampant Korda sisters on the sidelines.
Three birdies in the first six holes had given Nordqvist and Van Dam a commanding lead and they looked like going further in front when rookie Van Dam hit an excellent approach to the seventh.
However, Nordqvist left her birdie attempt woefully short and after having to wait for the ball to stop oscillating in the gusty wind, Van Dam missed the par putt.
That proved to be the turning point and, buoyed by Van Dam finding the water on the ninth, the American pair made four birdies in a row to move in front against their shellshocked opponents, who also bogeyed the 13th and 15th.
A birdie from the European pair on the par-five 16th kept the contest alive, but Pressel and Alex secured a remarkable win on the next.