(Photo credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Europe's slow crawl back to drawing even with the United States at the Solheim Cup was completed during afternoon four-ball competition Saturday, and the 2023 champion will be decided in Sunday's singles matches.
With the first two days of the competition at the Finca Cortesin in Andalusia, Spain, tied 8-8, two-time defending champion Europe will look for the three-peat during Sunday's 12 singles matches.
Europe will retain the Solheim Cup if the score ends up tied at 14 after Sunday's play.
The United States opened the competition Friday with a clean 4-0 sweep during morning foursome (alternate shot) rounds. But Europe powered back to a 5-3 deficit after Friday's four-ball (best ball) rounds.
On Saturday morning, the United States held its ground, winning two of the four foursome matches to hold a 7-5 lead. Europe regained its momentum during the afternoon four-ball matches.
Europe's Charley Hull of England and Leona Maguire of Ireland romped to a 4 and 3 victory over Americans Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing in the first four-ball match Saturday with Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom and Denmark's Emily Kristine Pedersen defeating Rose Zhang and Andrea Lee 2 and 1.
The United States won its lone point of Saturday's four-ball competition when Cheyenne Knight and Angel Yin defeated Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and Carolina Hedwall 2-up.
Europe finally tied the overall score 8-8 when Spain's Carlota Ciganda and Sweden's Linn Grant defeated Danielle Kang and Lilia Vu 2 and 1. Vu could have drawn that match even at 16 but lipped out an 18-foot putt. Kang then missed a 5-footer at 17 that would have extended the match.
While playing on home soil, Ciganda won both of her matches Saturday after pairing with Pedersen to win in morning foursomes.
"It has been amazing yesterday and today, and especially today in the afternoon I (knew) we were doing good because I could hear the people cheering pretty loud," Ciganda said on the Golf Channel broadcast. "It's an amazing feeling. I can't believe we are playing here in Spain and I'm just happy to be a part of this amazing team."
For the sixth time in Solheim Cup history, the score is tied 8-8 heading into the final day of singles matches. The United States won three of those previous five occasions.
During the morning matches Saturday, Korda and Allisen Corpuz won their second foursomes match in as many days as the United States seized their 7-5 lead.
Korda and Corpuz followed up their 1-up victory over Maguire and Nordqvist on Friday with a 5 and 3 win over England's Georgia Hall and France's Celine Boutier.
"I think Nelly is really calm, which is kind of what I need," Corpuz said. "I play pretty low energy. Obviously she has the experience as well. So just knowing that having someone like her by my side has helped me a lot to get comfortable."
Pedersen and Ciganda recorded a 2 and 1 win over Vu and Jennifer Kupcho in foursomes.
"I think it's important because you don't want to give too much to the Americans," Ciganda said. "I mean, they are tough to beat. They are really strong and they are really good, so we can do this, but we have to play good golf, and we have to be very present and hopefully that's enough."
Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang regained the momentum for the Americans, rallying to post a 1-up win over Nordqvist and Maguire.
Korda and Corpuz were victorious before the Swedish duo of Maja Stark and Grant posted a 1-up win over Americans Kang and Lee. Stark sank a long putt on No. 17 and Grant did the same on No. 18 to end the match.
--Field Level Media