PARKER, Colo. -- Trying to win its first Solheim Cup on U.S. soil, the European team took to the undulating Colorado Golf Club course and grabbed a 5-3 lead Friday on the first of three days of match-play competition.
The American squad gained a split of the afternoon's four "Four Ball" matches after dropping three of four in the morning matches.
Americans Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie beat Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull, at 17 the youngest to play in the Solheim Cup, 2 and 1. Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome also earned a point for the Americans, beating Anna Nordqvist and Giulia Sergas 4 and 3 after Lang buried a short birdie putt on the par-5 15th.
Lang produced an important shot to put that match firmly in the Americans' control on the 14th when she holed a shot from a bunker on the fringe of the green.
Europe's Suzann Pettersen and Carlota Ciganda were 1-up winners over Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson but not without some controversy over a drop on the par-5 15th hole. Ciganda put her second shot into a stand of trees and scrub brush, and, in a confusing sequence, course officials took some 20 minutes to sort out the appropriate spot for her drop. Eventually, she was allowed to take a drop on the fairway and got her fourth shot within 12 feet of the hole. She ended up saving par to keep the match all squared after Lewis missed a birdie putt.
One hole later, on the 16th, Pettersen made a birdie to give the Europeans a one-stroke advantage, which they hung on to the rest of the way to win the match.
Caroline Hedwall and Caroline Masson took another afternoon match for Europe with a 2-and-1 victory over Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller.
Europe won the last Solheim Cup in Ireland two years ago, but the Americans are 6-0 in Solheim Cup play in the United States.
The European squad got off to a strong start by taking three of the four morning matches in "Foursome" play.
Jessica Korda and Morgan Pressel accounted for the lone U.S. point from the morning session when they beat Matthew and Jodi Ewart Shadoff 3 and 2.
"I think we both played well out there today," said Pressel, who teamed with Korda for birdie putts on the 11th and 13th holes to pull away. "We were a little shaky early, a little bit nervous. But we didn't make many mistakes and we were able to make some really good par-saving putts."
Swedish golfers Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall put the first point on the board for Europe when they defeated Lewis and Lizette Salas 4 and 2 in the opening match.
Norway's Pettersen and Spain's Beatriz Recari gave Europe its second point when they beat Texans Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford 2 and 1.
A 2-and-1 victory by Azahara Munoz of Spain and Karine Icher of France against Kerr and Paula Creamer rounded out the morning session. Munoz and Icher strung together consecutive birdies on Nos. 8, 9 and 10 to seize the momentum in the match.
"We played well from the beginning and we had an amazing stretch on 8, 9 and 10 making bombs. That was huge for us," Munoz said.
Creamer said problems in their short game cost them.
"We just didn't make a putt," Creamer said. "We had so many lip-outs and it's just that's the way it was."