Solheim Cup: Europe Leads Despite Big Win for Korda Sisters
GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) — Jessica and Nelly Korda put their arms around each other's waists and laughed their way down the 14th fairway en route to one of the biggest foursomes wins in Solheim Cup history.
Apart from the 6 and 4 victory for the first siblings to play together in the competition, there was little else to smile about for the Americans on Friday in the opening shots of the title defense.
Europe finished the foursomes session with a 2 1/2-1 1/2 lead on a sunny morning at Gleneagles, winning the last two matches after Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law came from 1 down with two holes to play to grab a half-point from the lead-off match against Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex.
There were also four fourballs matches to play on Day 1 as the U.S. team looks to win the Solheim Cup for a third straight time.
The Korda sisters were split up for the fourballs, with U.S. captain Juli Inkster perhaps hoping they can spread their strong play across two matches. They proved far too good for Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
Jessica Korda — the elder of the sisters by five years — played the senior role after skipping onto the raucous first tee and throwing some moves to the backdrop of ABBA's "Dancing Queen."
She rolled in a birdie putt at No. 1 to immediately put the U.S. 1 up and chipped in for eagle from the fringe at No. 10 to keep the sisters 5 up. In those first 10 holes, the Kordas made four birdies and an eagle, giving them a chance of posting a record foursomes win.
They settled for clinching victory on the 14th hole, celebrating on the green as their tennis-player parents from the Czech Republic — Petr Korda, who won the Australian Open in 1998, and Regina Rajchrtova, who represented her country at the Olympics in 1988 — watched on.
"It doesn't matter if I hit a bad shot, she's like, 'I've got this,'" Jessica Korda said, "and it's the same the other way."
They are the second pair of siblings to play in the same Ryder Cup team. In 1998, Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam made the Europe team but were never paired in foursomes or fourballs.
Only four foursomes matches in the 29-year history of the Solheim Cup have finished with a heavier margin of victory.
Coping well with a loud, singing, flag-waving crowd in the No. 1 grandstand, Pressel — appearing in her sixth Solheim Cup — found the fairway with the nerve-wracking opening tee shot of the event but found herself 2 down with Alex after four holes against Ciganda and Law in the first match.
Pressel and Alex won three straight holes to go 1 up and they retained that lead until the 16th when the Europeans moved all square. Ciganda holed a 30-foot birdie putt to halve the 17th and both teams parred the par-5 last.
Lexi Thompson, at No. 3 the highest-ranked player in this event, lost in foursomes for the first time in four Solheim Cup matches as she and Brittany Altomare fell to a 2-and-1 loss to Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier.
Charley Hull and Azahora Munoz beat Megan Khang and Annie Park 2 and 1 in the last match to finish, giving the Europeans the lead at the end of the session.