Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis persevere
PARKER, Colo. -- Paula Creamer sat out the afternoon session Friday at the Solheim Cup, giving her plenty of time to get fired up for Saturday.
Stacy Lewis played twice Friday and lost both times, which included an afternoon four-ball match that had about a half-hour delay to get a ruling on the placement of a drop -- which turned out to be wrong. So Lewis’ fire was turned on pretty much full tilt, too.
Thus, the duo of Creamer/Lewis turned on the jets in a Saturday morning foursomes session at a hot and crowded Colorado Golf Club. The pair led by as much as 4-up over the European team of Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher before giving it all back.
But when the match went the distance to the 18th hole, Creamer and Lewis played it a little less poorly than the Euros. And, after some extremely good play on earlier holes, that’s what ended up deciding the match: who made the fewest mistakes on the last one.
Creamer/Lewis won 1-up, providing one of the 2½ points the Americans earned Saturday morning. Europe led 6½ to 5½ entering Saturday afternoon’s four-ball session.
The Americans came into the morning’s alternate-shot session trailing 5-3 after a late night for U.S. captain Meg Mallon and her European counterpart, Liselotte Neumann.
They had met with the media quite a while after play finished Friday night to explain the botched ruling that had occurred in the Carlota Ciganda/Suzann Pettersen victory over Lewis/Lexi Thompson.
Mallon was peeved -- or as peeved as someone of her perpetually sunny disposition gets -- about why the ruling had taken so long.
She suggested the incident could spur the Americans, although the perceived “we were wronged” tone seemed a little goofy, considering the official who made the final ruling was an American on a course in the United States. It was a little like a basketball team griping about the timekeeper on its home court.
But, heck, what’s a golf tournament without at least one rules “controversy”? Besides, maybe it was just what Lewis needed after the two losses Friday put her Solheim record at 1-5-0. Even though she’s the No. 2-ranked women’s player in the world and coming off a major victory at the Women’s British Open, Lewis has always seemed to thrive more in the “overlooked underdog” role.
Saturday morning, she was paired with Creamer, who was coming off her own disappointment of losing a Friday morning match with Cristie Kerr. After Lewis/Creamer had lost their big lead against Munoz/Icher, Creamer grabbed it back with a birdie putt on the par-5 15th hole.
Then on No. 16, also a par-5, Lewis’ birdie putt halved the hole. The Europeans squared the match again, though, with a birdie on the par-3 17th.
Then it was on to 18, which hasn’t seen much action yet. It’s an all-uphill par-4, and the Europeans went into a bunker on their drive and Creamer was in the fairway. However, Lewis made it interesting with a poor approach that ended up in the native rough left of the green.
It didn’t matter, though, because the Euros landed in another bunker that they had difficulty escaping, and they eventually conceded the hole and the match.
“They rallied on the back nine,” Lewis said. “They made a bunch of birdie putts, and they made us make putts. It was a great match.”
Then Lewis sat out Saturday afternoon, while Creamer went out to four-ball play paired with Thompson.
The team of Michelle Wie/Brittany Lang also earned a point Saturday morning, beating Pettersen/Beatriz Recari 2 and 1. It was the second point earned this Solheim Cup for Wie, who was a captain’s pick and now has a record of 6-3-1 in her Solheim career.
Wie played Saturday afternoon with Jessica Korda, who lost her morning match with Morgan Pressel to Swedes Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall, 2 and 1. That match ended dramatically with Nordqvist’s hole-in-one on No. 17.
Europe’s Catriona Matthew/Caroline Masson and USA’s Brittany Lincicome/Lizette Salas split their match Saturday morning, which kept Europe in the lead at the end of the session.
Thus far, 24-year-old Swede Hedwall has been the Europeans’ top point producer, going 3-0. She played with Masson on Saturday afternoon, which means Hedwall will be the only player at this Solheim Cup to compete in all five sessions. The 12 singles matches are Sunday.