United States lead 7-5 against Europe in Solheim Cup

Swedish rookies Linn Grant and Maja Stark secured a vital win as Europe remained two points behind the United States at 7-5 after the third session of the Solheim Cup.

Home favourite Carlota Ciganda had led from the front as she partnered Emily Pedersen to victory over Lilia Vu and Jennifer Kupcho in the opening foursomes at Finca Cortesin.

However, defeats for Anna Nordqvist and Leona Maguire, and Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier gave the visitors a 7-4 lead until Grant and Stark closed out their match with Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee in brilliant fashion.

Stark holed from 25 feet for birdie on the 17th to move one up and, with their opponents in close on the par-five 18th, Grant holed from 10 feet for birdie to seal the win.

Grant told Sky Sports: “It’s amazing. The last two holes gives us so much momentum. We’re on such a high right now, it feels great.”

The close friends had lost the opening foursomes on Friday and were split up for the afternoon fourballs, but repaid the faith of Europe captain Suzann Pettersen on Saturday.

“It’s so much fun, especially getting that confidence from Suzann putting us together,” Stark said. “Two rookies has got to be a little hard for her to put out in the first group yesterday.

“I think there were a lot of nerves involved on the first few holes yesterday and getting to play with her (Grant) again is just amazing and I knew that we could do it. It was just about letting loose and just doing it.”

Carlota Ciganda
Europe’s Carlota Ciganda celebrates winning her Foursomes match with Emily Pedersen (not pictured) during day two of the 2023 Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin (John Walton/PA)

Nordqvist and Maguire had been two up after eight holes against Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang, but bogeyed the ninth, 10th and 11th to fall behind.

A birdie on the 15th got the European pair back on level terms, only for them to bogey the 17th as Nordqvist appeared to choose the wrong club and fired her tee shot into a bunker at the back of the green.

Hall and Boutier, who had surrendered their unbeaten record on day one, never recovered from losing the first two holes to Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz and were unsurprisingly left out of the afternoon fourballs, with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall making her first appearance alongside Nordqvist.