TOLEDO, OHIO | Given the closing power of the European Solheim Cup team in the morning foursome and the fact that almost all games were close throughout the day, a great game should be history on Saturday at the Inverness Club.
To get an idea of how compelling the drama is, of the eight games on Saturday – four foursome in the morning and four foursome in the afternoon – all but one went to the 18th hole, a hole that the organizers ranked 9th changed, so the traditional 18th, the hole where Bob Tway punched out the front bunker and Paul Azinger punched a slippery 8-footer to win the 1986 and 1993 PGA championships, respectively, would fall in the middle of the matches .
Every single four-man match in the morning went to the last hole. The Europeans were either tied, 1-up or 1-down to 17. And not a single European pair lost the 18th hole that morning. Two wins and two draws resulted in 3½ points. The only half point for Team USA came when Ally Ewing missed a short par putt to lose the 18th and cut in half a match the Americans had led since the first.
In the afternoon four balls, both captains cleared the four players who were sitting in the morning. The result was almost the same. Ann Nordqvist and rookie Matilda Castren defeated Lexi Thompson and Mina Harigae 4 and 3, with the Europeans losing only one hole in that match. The other three were tight all the time, 1-up or 1-down for most games.
Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire were 2 points early ahead of Brittany Altomare and Yealimi Noh. When Noh took the lead with birdies # 6 and # 7, it was Georgia Hall who made the difference until 18th
The bright spot for the USA came in the second game of the afternoon, another one that went over the distance. Then on the 18th, Lizette Salas stuck a 9 iron at six feet and rolled the putt to the birdie to give the Americans a full point.
But although Europe leads 5½ to 2½ at dusk, the largest European first day lead in Solheim Cup history, the only other full point Team USA deserves is the one that gets the most attention – the first game of the In the afternoon against Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing from the USA against Madeline Sagstrom and Nanna Koerstz Madsen from Europe.
The match went back and forth all day and was tied until 12. Then on the 13th par-5, Korda had a right to left downhill that broke 20 feet for Eagle. She hit what appeared to be a perfect putt. Then at the last moment the ball stopped on the right edge.
According to the Rules of Golf, if any part of a ball protrudes beyond the hole, the ball will not be considered dormant until the player has had reasonable time to reach the hole plus an additional 10 seconds. If the ball has not moved for 10 seconds, it is considered to be at rest.
Sagstrom picked up Korda’s ball and tossed it back to her before the 10-second grace period expired, believing the ball wasn’t sticking out of the hole and had no chance of falling into it.
Rule 13.3b states: “In match play, if the opponent intentionally lifts the player’s ball or moves it over the hole before the waiting time has expired, the player’s ball will be treated as holed with the previous stroke and there is no penalty for the player Player opponent according to rule 11.2b. “
The match referee, Missy Jones, one of the few experts to get a perfect score on the USGA Rules of Golf exam, immediately called the question to the committee. After reviewing the television footage, it was found that part of Korda’s ball actually protruded beyond the hole. Therefore, according to the written rules of golf, it was assumed that Korda’s ball was holed for an eagle. The US went up in Match 1 and stayed there after a brilliant 15-foot from Ewing for par 17 and two missed birdie chances from Sagstrom and Koerstz Madsen on 18.
“It was definitely embarrassing,” said Korda afterwards. “You don’t want to win a hole like that. But we had no say (in the judgment). “
Ewing agreed and said, “It was a little strange. We had to refocus a bit, as they must have done. … That doesn’t affect the good golf we’ve played. “
Sagstrom was understandably upset. “Obviously I didn’t follow the rules of leaving the ball for 10 seconds. But I believe in the integrity and honor of the game of golf, ”said Sagstrom. “And I would never pick up a putt that had a chance of going in.”
Koerstz Madsen also stood up for her teammate and said: “I just want to thank Madelene for handling it perfectly. I know it was so tough. Madelene didn’t enjoy being in this position. I think she felt bad, and she really shouldn’t. “