Europe Leads 7-5 at PING Junior Solheim Cup
BASTAD, Sweden – At the conclusion of the opening day’s matches at the fourth biennial PING Junior Solheim Cup Tuesday, the European squad holds a 7-5 lead over the United States. The afternoon’s four-ball matches proved to be the difference as the Europeans claimed four of the six points after the morning foursome matches ended in a 3-3 draw.
Patterned after The Solheim Cup, the PING Junior Solheim Cup features the top-12 girls from the United States against those from Europe. The event is being played on Bastad Golf Club’s par-71, 5,880-yard New Course in Bastad, Sweden Sept. 10-12. Players competed in foursome and four-ball matches Tuesday and will battle in singles matches Wednesday. The United States holds the Cup and needs to reach 12 points to keep it, while the Europeans need 12.5 points to reclaim the PING Junior Solheim Cup after winning it in 2003.
The morning foursome matches were halved with both teams earning three full points. The European tandem of Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Nicola Rössler of Germany never trailed in their match against Sydney Burlison of Salinas, Calif., and Allie White of Lancaster, Ohio, and won the day’s first point 1-up.
The United States rebounded quickly by capturing the next two matches to take an early 2-1 lead. In the second match of the day, Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., and Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., teamed to defeat Sara Monberg of Denmark and Caroline Hedwall of Sweden 4 and 3. Through 15 holes, the two Americans were 1-under-par in this alternate shot format.
“Our games really fit well together,” Hurst said of their three-birdie, two-bogey round. “We took advantage of my length and Jane’s accuracy and short game.”
In the third match of the day, after building a four-hole cushion heading to the back nine, Isabelle Lendl of Bradenton, Fla., and Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va., saw their lead dwindle to one when Henrietta Brockway of England and Sally Watson of Scotland made eight consecutive pars on Nos. 10-17. Lendl and Ellenbogen held on for the 1-up victory when both teams carded par on No. 18, a 353-yard par 4.
The United States’ 2-1 lead did not last long as Europeans Marta Silva of Spain and Florentyna Parker of England defeated Hawaiians Kimberly Kim and Stephanie Kono 5 and 4 and Audrey Goumard of France and Nathalie Månsson of Sweden beat Brianna Do of Lakewood, Calif., and Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., 3 and 1 in the fourth and fifth matches, respectively.
The U.S. pairing of Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., and Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., trying to even the morning matches, found themselves three down through 12 holes. Six consecutive pars later, the two had defeated Charlotte Kring Lorentzen of Denmark and Jacqueline Hedwall of Sweden, 1-up, when the Europeans made bogey on No. 18.
“Winning that match gave the whole team a lot of confidence,” Harigae said. “We were all pretty pumped heading into the afternoon matches. It’s matches like this that teach you never to give up.”
During the afternoon’s four-ball matches, Ciganda and Silva remained undefeated by winning Europe’s fourth point, a 3-under-par team performance good enough for a 4 and 2 victory over Rah and Kono.
Parker and Rössler also remained perfect for Europe when they defeated Burlison and Ellenbogen 2-up. The two Europeans posted a 4-under-par 32 on their opening nine to take a three-hole lead. They then combined to make par on nine consecutive holes to close out the Americans, whose 35-34—69 was still not enough.
After the Europeans built a 5-3 lead, White and Lendl posted the first American points of the afternoon when they took down Kring Lorentzen and Monberg 2 and 1. The United States then quickly squared the PING Junior Solheim Cup when the sixth match of the afternoon saw Hurst and Park defeat Goumard and Brockway 5 and 4. When this match ended on the 14th hole, the two Americans had combined for six birdies.
“We did really well together in this format,” Hurst said of her pairing with Park, the U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion. “Kristen and I were having fun and laughing a lot. Everything was really positive, no matter what happened.”
With two matches left on the course, it looked like the day was going to end in a draw when sisters Caroline and Jacqueline Hedwall defeated Kim and Do 3 and 2 while Americans Harigae and Lua held a two-hole lead with four holes to play. Things changed when the United States posted a bogey on No. 15 and Månsson made birdie on No. 17 to square the match with one hole to play. Månsson then completed the dramatic comeback by draining another birdie putt on No. 18 to secure Europe’s 7-5 day-one lead.
“That was a rough way to end things,” U.S. Women’s Public Links Champion Harigae said. “It just wasn’t our day and our late bogey gave them the moment to finish stronger than us.”
With singles matches deciding the PING Junior Solheim Cup Wednesday, U.S. Team Captain Donna Andrews hopes to draw off previous singles success to give her team the boost they need to overtake the two-point deficit. She said she will be sure to remind her squad of the 10-2 singles record the Americans posted in 2005.
“We need to keep our chins up and remember to have fun,” she explained. “I’ve always felt, whether it be the big or little girls team, that we have more depth than the Europeans when it comes to this format. I think we have the talent to go out and win all 12 singles matches.”
Past U.S. Team PING Junior Solheim Cup participants include Paula Creamer (three-time LPGA Tour champion), Brittany Lincicome (champion at the 2007 GINN Open and 2006 HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship) and Morgan Pressel (champion of the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship). Creamer was the first player to make the move from the PING Junior Solheim Cup to the Solheim Cup Team where she helped lead her team to victory in 2005 with a 3-1-1 record.
The United States leads the all-time series 2-1-0. The team hosting the event has won the PING Junior Solheim Cup in all three instances.
PING designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 by the late Karsten Solheim. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim’s youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.pinggolf.com.
Day One: MORNING FOURSOME MATCHES
Carlota Ciganda, Spain & Nicola Rössler, Germany (EUROPE) def.
Jane Rah, Torrance, Calif. & Vicky Hurst, Melbourne, Fla (USA) def.
Isabelle Lendl, Bradenton, Fla & Courtney Ellenbogen, Blacksburg, Va. (USA) def.
Marta Silva, Spain & Florentyna Parker, England (EUROPE) def.
Audrey Goumard, France & Nathalie Månsson, Sweden (EUROPE) def.
Kristen Park, Buena Park, Calif. & Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif. (USA) def.
MORNING TOTALS: UNITED STATES 3, EUROPE 3
Day One: AFTERNOON FOUR-BALL MATCHES
Marta Silva, Spain & Carlota Ciganda, Spain (EUROPE) def.
Florentyna Parker, England & Nicola Rössler, Germany (EUROPE) def.
Allie White, Lancaster, Ohio & Isabelle Lendl, Bradenton, Fla. (USA) def.
Caroline Hedwall, Sweden & Jacqueline Hedwall, Sweden (EUROPE) def.
Nathalie Månsson, Sweden & Sally Watson, Scotland (EUROPE) def.
Vicky Hurst, Melbourne, Fla. & Kristen Park, Buena Park, Calif. (USA) def.
AFTERNOON TOTALS: EUROPE 4, UNITED STATES 2
DAY ONE TOTALS: EUROPE 7, UNITED STATES 5