The United States rallied at the Solheim Cup on Sunday morning, winning three of the four alternate-shot matches to cut into the sizable lead defending champion Europe built on Day One.
Lexi Thompson’s curling 30-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th closed out a 2-and-1 victory for herself and teammate Brittany Altomare. It also highlighted a stirring rally for the Americans as the U.S. pulled with 6 1/2-5 1/2 heading into the afternoon four-ball session.
Austin Ernst and Danielle Kang edged Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom 1 up, and Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas surged past Matilda Castren and Anna Nordqvist on the back nine for a 3-and-1 win.
At one point, the Europeans led in all four matches. Only the team of Leona Maguire and Mel Reid hung on. The two drilled world No. 1 Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 5 and 4 as Maguire, a Solheim Cup rookie, improved to 3-0 on the weekend.
Maguire and Reid will play together once more in the afternoon four-ball matches. Korda, meanwhile, will be given a much-needed break.
The 23-year-old, who won gold at the Tokyo Olympics last month, made a series of uncharacteristic mistakes. She bladed a pitch from a fairway bunker on the par-4 fourth out of bounds, chunked an approach shot on the par-4 seventh and had an uphill chip from the fringe on the par-4 ninth only make it halfway to the hole before hitting reverse.
The lone bright spot for Korda came on an eagle putt on the par-5 13th from basically the same spot that led to a bit of controversy on Day One. Korda’s putt from the back right of the green during Saturday’s four-ball session hung on the lip. Sagstrom walked over and picked it up, a violation of a rule that lets players wait at least 10 seconds before marking or grabbing a ball that appears on the verge of going in.
The violation meant Korda and Ewing won the hole and turned out to be the margin in what became a 1-up victory. Korda called the situation “awkward,” but U.S. captain Pat Hurst stressed it wouldn’t be an issue going forward.
Maybe, but Korda hardly looked like herself Sunday morning and will sit out a session for the first time in her brief Solheim Cup career in the afternoon.
With Korda struggling, her teammates picked up the slack. Ernst and Kang turned a one-hole deficit into a one-hole lead after wins on the 13th and 14th and held on the rest of the way. It was the only match of the morning that reached the 18th green a day after seven of the eight matches made it to the final hole.
It looked like the 18th would be required for Altomare and Thompson before Thompson — who had struggled to make anything of significance on the slick Inverness greens — dropped in her birdie putt to seal the match against Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen.
Salas and Kupcho were 2 down after seven holes but captured four straight wins on Nos. 14-17, the last coming on a birdie putt by Salas that revived the U.S.’s hopes of reclaiming the Cup they lost at Gleneagles two years ago.