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Solheim Cup preview: Rivals all-square heading into singles

Europe and the USA will go into the final day of the Solheim Cup tied at 8-8, after a fabulous day of golf at Finca Cortesin.

After Europe charged back from losing the opening session on day one 4-0 to the second session 3-5 down, the two sides again pushed each other on Saturday.

The second day morning Foursomes finished 2-2, but Suzann Pettersen’s team enjoyed the better of the afternoon Fourballs - winning 3-1 to leave the teams tied going into the final-day singles.

Click here for our Day One preview.

Click here for our Day Two preview.

WhatSolheim Cup
WhereFinca Cortesin Golf Club, Malaga, Spain
WhenFriday 22nd September - Sunday 24th September 2023
How to watchLive on Sky Sports Golf
OddsEurope 11/10, USA 6/5, Tie 13/2

Swedes star on Saturday morning

Europe had recovered from a miserable Friday morning when they had lost all four foursome matches and halved the deficit before the third set of pairs matches that started on Saturday. 

Suzann Pettersen’s side were 5-3 down at the start of play but struck the first blow in the second-day foursomes, when home favourite Carlota Ciganda thrived off the energy of the Malaga crowd alongside Denmark’s Emily Pedersen, chalking up a 2&1 success over Jennifer Kupcho and Lilia Vu. 

It seemed then that Europe were right back in the contest, but the Americans were able to tighten their grip once again. 

World number three Nelly Korda and Women’s US Open champion Allison Corpuz had few problems in beating Georgia Hall and France’s Celine Boutier, 5&3, and Europe’s backs were up against the wall when Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang sealed the deal against Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist on the 18th. 

So the final game was crucial and Europe were able to take a valuable point, as the Swedish rookies Maja Stark and Linn Grant came to the party. 

They were all square with Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee on the 17th tee, but Stark’s cool birdie putt had the European pair in the driving seat, and Grant was able to confirm the point with an eight-foot putt on the closing hole.

Hull helps Europe fight back

With the USA leading 7-5 heading into the afternoon, Stacy Lewis’ team will have known that a session win would have put them in the driving seat ahead of Sunday's singles. 

The hosts took the first match though, thanks to a stellar performance from the rejuvenated Charley Hull and Leona Maguire. 

There were concerns over Hull’s fitness after neck issues on day one, but the European pair defeated world number three Nelly Korda and the experienced Ally Ewing. 

The Americans did claim Match Two, with a 2-UP success for debutants Cheyenne Knight and Angel Yin over Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall. 

That would turn out to be the only point for the US in the afternoon, with Europe claiming success in the final two match-ups. 

Madelene Sagstrom and Emily Pedersen were 2&1 winners over Rose Zhang and Andrea Lee, while Carlota Ciganda secured another point for the week - teaming up with Linn Grant to beat Danielle Kang and Lilia Vu 2&1. 

Third win still on for Europe

With Europe the current holders, they only need to reach 14 points to retain the Solheim Cup but they are seeking a third straight win in the event - something they have never achieved before. 

The 12 singles matches will begin at 10:10am UK time, with Linn Grant - who already has three points to her name - up against world number 14 Megan Khang in the first clash. 

Other standout match-ups include Charley Hull against former PGA champion Danielle Kang (10:34) and Evian Championship winner Celine Boutier faces Chevron Championship runner-up Angel Yin (11:22). 

It could come down to the final two matches, which see Spaniard Carlota Ciganda come up against Nelly Korda (12:10) and debutant Emily Pedersen faces six-time Solheim Cup star Lexi Thompson (12:22). 

Europe came out on top in Ohio two years ago, winning 15-13 at the Inverness Club and a repeat scoreline in 2023 can be backed at 13/2.

Solheim Cup preview: Europe fightback offers Solheim Cup hope

After a nightmare start on Day One, Europe battled back in the afternoon to keep themselves in the contest heading into the second day of the Solheim Cup.

The Europeans have led the last three meetings with America after the opening session foursomes, but the tables were turned at Finca Cortesin.

Stacy Lewis’ USA team completed a clean sweep in the morning, taking a 4-0 lead into the afternoon Fourballs.

But with home support behind them, Europe battled back and claimed three points in the afternoon to leave the US with a 5-3 lead going into the second day.

Suzann Pettersen’s team are now 7/4 to win the event, with the USA 4/6 and the tie available to back at 9/1.

WhatSolheim Cup
WhereFinca Cortesin Golf Club, Malaga, Spain
WhenFriday 22nd September - Sunday 24th September 2023
How to watchLive on Sky Sports Golf
OddsEurope 7/4, USA 4/6, Tie 9/1

Rejuvenated Thompson gets US off to a quick start

After a disappointing season by her high standards, Lexi Thompson took the first tee-shot of the day and supported by her playing partner Megan Khang, was able to get a point on the board for the away team.

Thompson, an 11-time LPGA Tour winner, and Khang beat Swedish pair Maja Stark and Linn Grant 2&1 in the top game.

The performance of the morning saw Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight secure a crushing 5&4 victory over Charley Hull and Denmark’s Emily Pedersen, after the Americans had been 6-Up at the turn.

Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz were 2-Up after six holes, but European duo Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist fought back and took the match down the 18th. However, Korda - the 2021 Women’s PGA champion - and Corpuz held on to win 1-Up.

The morning clean-sweep was completed by a 1-Up victory for Andrea Lee and Danielle Kang over Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier.

Pedersen ace the highlight of European response

Needing to fight back to keep their chances of winning the cup for the third consecutive time, Europe’s stars impressed as the wind picked up in Malaga.

Gemma Dryburgh teamed up with another debutant, Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, to claim a half point from their battle with US pair Megan Khang and Rose Zhang.

Europe’s first full point came via Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire, with the latter chipping in for birdie at 18 to beat Lexi Thompson and Lilia Vu 1-Up.

The second full point wasn’t too far away, as home favourite Carlotta Ciganda and Linn Grant defeated rookie pair Angel Yin and Ally Ewing 4&2.

The moment of the afternoon came at the par-three 12th in the third match, when Emily Pedersen recorded a hole-in-one.

There had been previously only one ace made in the history of the Solheim Cup, but Pedersen achieved the second and won the hole, with both Americans inside 10 feet with their tee shots.

Focus turns to Saturday

The second day’s play begins at 7:10am BST (8:10 CET), with Foursomes once again the format starting us off on Saturday.

Pettersen has some big decisions to make as to who plays on Saturday morning, with the European captain revealing that Charley Hull should be fine after a neck issue.

The home team will hope they can take the lead for the first time, ahead of the afternoon Fourballs that are due to begin at 12:40 BST (13:40 CET).

Europe are 11/8 to come out on top in Saturday’s morning session, while the USA are 8/5 to win the Foursomes for a second day.

Solheim Cup preview: Europe will take some stopping in Malaga

A cracking few days of team golf starts on Friday with the Solheim Cup, as the best female players from Europe and the USA do battle for the prestigious trophy in Malaga.

Suzann Pettersen’s home team will be looking to win a third successive Solheim Cup for what would be the first time.

WhatSolheim Cup
WhereFinca Cortesin Golf Club, Malaga, Spain
WhenFriday 22nd September - Sunday 24th September 2023
How to watchLive on Sky Sports Golf
OddsEurope 10/11, USA 11/10, Tie 12/1

This will be the 18th occasion that the USA and Europe have battled it out for the Solheim Cup and while the Americans have won 10 of the previous 17 encounters, it is their opponents who are on a roll.

Europe have never won three successive Solheim Cups and with their last two victories coming by slender margins, there is every expectation that this week’s clash in Malaga could be just as tight.

Suzann Pettersen’s home team are 10/11 to claim a hat-trick while the Americans are 11/10 to stop the rot and claim what would be only their third win in Europe since the turn of the century.

There has never been a tie in the competition’s history but it could go down to the wire and such an eventuality is available at 12/1.

The competition will take place over three days with four foursomes and four fourball matches on both Friday and Saturday. All 12 players from each team will then be in the singles matches on Sunday which will ultimately decide the destiny of the trophy.

Finca Cortesin course details

The Finca Cortesin is regarded as one of the best in Spain and it hosted the Volvo Match Play on what was then the European Tour three times, the last time being in 2012.

The course is more than 7,000 yards long and unusually features five par-fives and five par-threes to make up the par-72 test.

The undulations are the main feature of the terrain, which means it can be a demanding climb for 18 holes and those bumps and dips will have to be negotiated both on the fairway and the testing greens.

Finding the right spot on both will be the key to success as many of the fairways are tree-lined, which presents plenty of issues for second shots after errant drives, while most of the putting surfaces are heavily protected by bunkers.

Europe look set for another triumph

The prices and recent history suggest that these teams will be closely matched and there is plenty of scope for the match to ebb and flow, but Europe should be confident that they can come out on top.

Star player Charley Hull has finished second in her last two Majors and brings a wealth of experience from her previous five appearances, while world number four Celine Boutier is just as strong a team player as she is in individual competition.

There are high hopes that Swedes Linn Grant and Maja Stark could form a strong pairing and while the Americans may point to the fact two of the European team, Emily Pedersen and Caroline Hedwall, are outside the world’s top 100, there are issues in the American camp too.

Stalwart Lexi Thompson has been struggling for form, while star Nelly Korda may not have the biggest of impacts after struggling for much of the year with a back injury. That could help tip the tie in Europe’s favour.

Boutier can lead the home charge

Ireland’s Leona Maguire heads the top European points scorer market at 5/1, but while Charley Hull will see plenty of support, it is a good time to get with Celine Boutier.

The French player has tasted Major success at the Evian Championship this year and has a formidable record from her two Solheim appearances, winning five and halving one of her seven matches.

She should be front and centre in Pettersen’s plans and can make Europe’s most telling contribution at 6/1.

Vu should rise to the occasion

Concerns about Nelly Korda’s fitness make her a flimsy favourite if the demands of the Malaga track take their toll, so it could be better to side with rookie Lilia Vu to lead the American challenge at 6/1.

Vu won both the Chevron Championship and the Women’s British Open - she claimed a six-shot win over Charley Hull at Walton Heath - so she heads to Spain in cracking form and she showed she can flourish in a team environment with strong performances as an amateur in the Curtis and Arnold Palmer Cups.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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