On paper it could very well have been the biggest disparity of the Solheim Cup 2021. World number 1, Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing, two-time LPGA Tour champions for the past 11 months, including the Bank of Hope match-play hosted by Shadow Creek, against LPGA winner Madelene Sagstrom and Nanna Koerstz Madsen, current No. 48 and 49 in the Rolex ranking.
The underdogs struck first and went through with a 2 to 2 in a birdie eagle start from Sagstrom. The only thing that could slow the Swede was a bee sting when she walked away from No. 5 green. On the same hole, Ewing brought a touch of life to Team USA with a 25-foot yardage. The other half of the duo linked the match at # 7, where Korda blows a drive 310 into the middle, pokes it tight, and turns a birdie.
“I think Madelene started hot, made two birdies and we were certainly a little out of step on the first two holes,” said Ewing. “We changed our order and changed my ball number and we got it back on track and started playing better golf.”
Ewing continued the swing and reached the par-5 8th in two and two puttings before Koerstz Madsen responded with her own birdie in 9th place. The match was a draw when they made the turn.
Everything was quiet until the 13th. Korda reached the par 5 in two and set up a 27-foot eagle putt. The reading, the role, was all perfect, so much so that she fell to her knees when the ball hung over the hole. But Sagstrom grabbed Korda’s ball for a birdie faster than the allotted 10-second runoff wait that was a focus during the pre-tournament rules meeting on Wednesday. Missy Jones, the LPGA Tour Rules official, stepped in to report the rule violation and that Korda’s previous punch was deemed holed.
“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 and would never pick up a putt that had a chance to get in, ”said Sagstrom. “Personally, I disagree with the decision that the ball is on the edge, but I didn’t follow the 10-second rule so it sucks right now because I feel like I’m letting my team down.”
The scenario ultimately decided the game when Team USA won 1.
“It was definitely embarrassing and you don’t want to win a hole like that,” said Korda. “I came down from the green, we were talking and Missy came up to us and said, ‘I’ll call it, I want to check it out.’ We didn’t even have a say, honestly. We told ourselves we should concentrate on golf and finish it. “
OFFICIAL DECISION OF DECISION
Rule 13.3b states that “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 having been holed with the previous stroke and there is no penalty for the opponent underneath Rule 11.2b. “The chief referee, match referee, observer and TV observer were of the opinion that Nelly Korda’s third stroke on No. 13 protruded over the hole and was picked up by her opponent before the waiting time had expired. As a result, her third stroke was treated as riddled with holes.