Solheim Cup deadlocked and both captains like their chances

Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier grabbed a vital comeback win for Europe in the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles
Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier grabbed a vital comeback win for Europe in the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles

European captain Catriona Matthew believes fine margins will decide her team’s fate in a finely poised Solheim Cup, writes Nicola Kenton.

USA drew level after winning Saturday’s fourballs, meaning the teams are deadlocked on 8-8 heading into Sunday’s decisive singles at Gleneagles.

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The hosts seemed to be struggling in the gusty conditions as Juli Inkster’s team briefly turned the scoreboard red.

But Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier produced a brilliant comeback, winning the last five holes to secure a two hole victory over Ally McDonald and Angel Yin, a crucial point that levelled the scores.

The last time the teams were tied heading into the final day was eight years ago at Killeen Castle when Europe went onto win by two points and Matthew, part of the team that day, believes momentum will be the key again.

“It is just going to come down to probably the odd shot, the odd putt and just to get momentum going one way or the other,” she said.

“It's going to be pretty tight again, just like the first two days. You can see the momentum changes sometimes on the leaderboard and it will be a small thing that changes it.”

American captain Inkster has been doing her best to keep a smile on the face of her team, not easy as a howling gale and driving rain made scoring difficult.

However, she’ll have no complaints about heading into Sunday with honours even, meaning the USA need just six points from 12 to retain the trophy they’ve held since 2015.

“We’re ecstatic with where we are right now because I think we’re pretty good in the singles and hopefully the weather will be a little better on Sunday too,” she said.

“I don’t think I need a big team talk now. We've got some videos to watch tonight but my team really loves music. We’ll put music on and we just kind of chill out, they're tired but we’ll be ready.”

Europe had the chance to gain an extra point but Caroline Masson missed a putt on the 18th in her fourball, though Matthew acknowledged the result was better than she expected.

Indeed she seemed more upbeat than 24 hours previously, when her team were leading.

“As a team we’re probably slightly chippier,” she added. “At one point this afternoon looked as though we could potentially go 4-0 down in the fourballs.

“Even 3-1 was going to look good for us, so to get back into it, and take one and a half points ended up being good.

“That fight back from Georgia and Celine was great. Caroline is devastated she missed that putt on the last green but overall we're pretty pleased.”

Testing conditions saw the matches takes nearly six hours to complete, with Europe’s Carlota Ciganda and American Lizette Salas both receiving warnings for slow play.

And Inkster praised the huge galleries for their patience.

“It was so tough out there for those girls and for them to play 36 holes but Europe had to do it too,” she said.

“This is where it is at and the crowds are fantastic. They've showed up and they’ve been amazing for both teams.”

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