(Reuters) – Team Europe’s Mel Reid birdied the 18th hole to draw even with the Americans in the final four-ball match on Sunday to give the visitors a 9-7 lead heading into the final day of the Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio.
The American team of Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas looked like they would come out with a full point in the seesaw battle after the rookie Kupcho chipped in for birdie on the 17th to send the throngs of U.S. fans into a frenzy.
But Reid’s approach shot from 136 yards out on the par-four 18th rolled out of the rough lining the green and settled near the cup.
The Englishwoman calmly sank the final putt and celebrated by pounding her chest on a warm and sunny day at the Inverness Club.
“I think it was huge,” Reid said of her momentum-shifting approach shot.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today and they are obviously two great players. They play perfect four-ball, if one was out, the other was making a look at birdie.
“Leona (Maguire) again played great, kept us in the match, and then I saw a wave of yellow and blue, which was all of our team, and I knew I had to pull something off.”
Reid’s shot is sure to energize the European side, which has far fewer fans than it normally would at the competition due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“I was sitting right there and was watching it, watching it,” European captain Catriona Matthew said of Reid’s approach shot.
“I saw it coming in and thought it was headed for the bunker but it got a fortunate bounce to get through the rough.”
In the other three matches, the American rookie pair of Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae defeated Celine Boutier and Sophia Popov 3-and-2, while European duo Carlota Ciganda and Nanna Koerstz Madsen defeated Jessica Korda and Megan Khang 1-up.
Europe’s Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen defeated Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst 4-and-2.
The day started promisingly for the Americans, who won three of their four foursomes matches in the morning session to pull within one point of Europe after getting off to a sluggish start on Saturday and falling behind by three points.
But the Europeans kept their composure and Reid’s late heroics limited the American duo to a half point.
“Every half point, I’ve realized over the years, is absolutely crucial,” Matthew said.
“At the start of the afternoon, the momentum was definitely headed toward the U.S. but we edged back a little bit in the afternoon and that half point really buoyed us up.”
Monday’s singles matches will wrap up the 17th edition the tournament. The Europeans are the defending champions but the Americans lead the overall series 10-6.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Richard Pullin)