Anna’s ace has Europe on top

SundayXtra - - SPORTS GOLF - By Ed­die Pells

PARKER, Colo. — In­stead of see­ing their lead dis­ap­pear at the Sol­heim Cup, the Eu­ro­peans saw it only cut in half.

They owed their slen­der ad­van­tage to a hole- in- one by Anna Nordqvist and a half­point from out of nowhere.

Nordqvist crashed a 7- iron on the 175yard 17th into the pin, then the hole, to give Europe its only win in Satur­day morn­ing’s al­ter­nate- shot matches. It was the high­light of a topsy- turvy stretch of golf on the back nine that ended with Europe hold­ing a 6 ½ - 5 ½ lead over the United States.

“It was just an un­be­liev­able shot,” Nordqvist said af­ter she and Caro­line Hed­wall beat Jessica Korda and Mor­gan Pres­sel 2 and 1. “It was the right shot at the right time.”

Pres­sel, who watched her dreams of a U. S. Open ti­tle dis­ap­pear in 2005 when Birdie Kim holed out from a green­side bunker up the road at Cherry Hills, saw an­other one slip away cru­elly in Colorado.

“Are you kid­ding me?” she said on the tee box as she watched the shot go in.

The Amer­i­cans were feel­ing the same way in the day’s third match af­ter let­ting a half- point get away.

Brit­tany Lin­ci­come missed a short putt on No. 17 that would have clinched a win against Caro­line Mas­son and Ca­tri­ona Matthew. Mov­ing to No. 18, Matthew holed a 6- footer for birdie to pull into a tie with Lin­ci­come and Lizette Salas, who had led since the sec­ond hole but couldn’t close it out.

“I feel like I was not putting good,” Linci- come said. “We had so many chances and Lizette played so good to­day, and just a cou­ple of 5- foot­ers that needed to go in just didn’t.” It wasn’t all bad news for the Amer­i­cans. Brit­tany Lang and Michelle Wie teamed for a 2- and- 1 vic­tory over Suzann Pet­tersen and Beatriz Re­cari. The vic­tory im­proved Wie to 5- 0- 1 when she plays in the Sol­heim Cup as a cap­tain’s pick. The Amer­i­cans were 2 down at the turn but went 1 up over the next three holes, high­lighted by a 30foot birdie putt that dropped for Lang on No. 10. “Lang was a su­per­star to­day,” Wie said. The United States’ other point came from Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer, who beat Aza­hara Munoz and Karin Icher 1 up in the day’s most tu­mul­tuous match.

The Eu­ro­peans won four straight holes to go from 4 down to even head­ing into No. 15. They fell be­hind on the next hole, then drew even again on the 17th. Europe ap­peared to have the ad­van­tage on No. 18 when Lewis smoth­ered her ap­proach shot into the brush and trees left of the green.

But Icher, play­ing out of a bunker about 50 yards in front of the green, thinned a shot that got stuck in a yucca plant. All Creamer needed was to chip the ball back in the vicin­ity of the green and the Eu­ro­peans, who had taken a drop, then hit a medi­ocre shot short of the green and con­ceded the match.

“They ral­lied on the back nine, made a bunch of birdie putts,” Lewis said. “They made us make putts. We had to play some golf to­day.”

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

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