Annika Sorenstam’s team trail 10.5 – 5.5 after a second successive thumping in the fourballs
EUROPE will not only have to re-write Solheim Cup to claim an improbable victory over the Americans today – they will also have to achieve something no Ryder Cup team has ever managed.
The biggest comeback witnessed in either of the game’s most prestigious teams competitions has been when the eventual winners trailed 10-6 heading into the singles.
That has happened three times – most recently in Germany two years ago, when the American women gave Europe a 8 ½ – 3 ½ hammering in the singles to power to a 14 ½ – 13 ½ victory.
It was exactly the same story in both of the Ryder Cup’s most memorable fightbacks – when the USA came from four points down at the 1999 Battle of Brookline, and when Europe returned the compliment to complete the Miracle at Medinah five years ago.
But Annika Sorenstam’s European team find themselves 10 ½ – 5 ½ behind after a second successive thumping in the Fourballs, and the way the Americans have piled up the birdies when playing with their own ball suggests there is no way back.
At least this time Europe – who actually outscored the Americans 4 ½ – 3 ½ in the Foursomes – avoided a second clean sweep in the Fourballs.
They went down 3-1, with world No 13 Anna Norqvist underlining her position as Europe’s top player by making it here wins out of three, partnering Jodi Ewart Shadoff to a 4&2 victory over Lizette Salas and Angel Yin.
It was a shame Norqvist was unable to play all four sessions because she is still feeling the effects of the bout of glandular fever that sidelined her in the build-up to the British Women’s open.
But what Europe really needed was a few more players of the same calibre.
Their next highest-ranked player, Suzann Pettersen was ruled out by a back injury, and even though Catriona Matthew proved an excellent replacement with two Foursomes wins, Pettersen’s feisty nature was missed.
She would undoubtedly have been a target for spectator abuse as a result of ‘Gimmegate’ two years ago, when shes hocked the golfing world by insisting she had not conceded an 18 inch putt to America’s Alison Lee.
Maybe seeing Pettersen get dog’s abuse from the crowds would have got the reaction from her team-mates that the controversy sparked among the Amercian ranks in Germany.
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It was the catalyst for that sensational American fightback. But there is no sense of injustice to fuel European fire – it seems to be a case of damage limitation here in Iowa.
As reigning Solheim Cup holders, the USA only need to reach 14 points to retain the trophy – which means they have 3 ½ points from today’s 12 singles matches.
Denying them that meagre haul appears to be Mission Impossible. Honestly, this American team is on Cruise control right now.