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TOLEDO, Ohio – A long week of preparation will finally give way to competition on Saturday at Inverness Club.
U.S. captain Pat Hurst and European captain Catriona Matthew revealed their pairings for the morning foursomes on Day 1 of the 17th Solheim Cup.
- 7:35AM (ET): Anna Nordqvist/Matilda Castren (EUR) vs. Danielle Kang/Austin Ernst (USA)
- 7:47AM: Celine Boutier/Georgia Hall (EUR) vs. Ally Ewing/Megan Khang (USA)
- 7:59AM: Mel Reid/Leona Maguire (EUR) vs. Nelly Korda/Jessica Korda (USA)
- 8:11AM: Charley Hull/Emily K. Pedersen (EUR) vs. Lexi Thompson/Brittany Altomare (USA)
(Sitting – Euros: Sophia Popov, Carlota Ciganda, Madelene Sagstrom, Nanna Koerstz Madsen; U.S.: Lizette Salas, Jennifer Kupcho, Mina Harigae, Yealimi Noh)
“I think a lot of thought goes into it. Myself and my vice captains, we bounced ideas off each other, asked the players their opinions, and I think between the four of us, we all agreed 100 percent that this was our best looking lineup for the first morning,” Matthew said after revealing her pairings.
“We feel very confident with who we’re putting out right now,” added Hurst, “so it’s going to be great matches.”
Here’s a breakdown of each of the first four matches, with four fourball matches taking place Saturday afternoon:
Nordqvist has more cup experience (six previous starts) than eight of her teammates combined. Castren is a rookie from Finland, who won her first LPGA event this year and then won on the LET to earn tour status and qualify for Solheim consideration. Nordqvist is a career 6-5-0 in this format. She went 2-0 with Hall in 2017, but Hall has had even more success with another (more on that below).
For the Americans, Kang and Ernst will set the tone as the home team tries to win back the cup. Though both have Solheim experience, this will be the first time they have partnered. Kang, who won at Inverness in last year’s Drive On Championship, is 1-2 in foursomes. Ernst is 1-1.
About Hall: she and Boutier went a perfect 3-0 in 2019 (with two wins in foursomes), so as Captain Matthew said Friday, “That was an obvious one, that we were going to certainly try out and put out again, this time.” Hall is 4-0 in her Solheim career in this format. Boutier is making her second appearance.
This might be the biggest surprise of the morning session. Ewing and Khang were both part of the ’19 squad but Ewing went 0-1 in foursomes and Khang wen 0-2. Ewing, however, did win the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play earlier this year at Shadow Creek.
Reid said on Thursday that she never formally met LPGA rookie Maguire until this week. They’re now partners, thanks to Reid’s role as a team leader and Maguire as a promising first-timer. Reid is 2-2-1 in Solheim Cup foursomes. Maguire competed in a couple of Junior Solheim Cups prior to being a captain’s pick for the European team.
In the ultimate no-doubter, the Korda sisters will go out together. Captain Hurst said the two asked to again be partnered, and how could anyone say no? They went 2-0 together in foursomes in ’19, winning, 6 and 4, and 6 and 5.
Hull is a Solheim Cup veteran now, making her fifth start in the event. But she’s only 25 years old. Hull is still the youngest competitor in cup history, making her debut at 17 in 2013 – the only time Europe won on American soil. She has a 9-3-3 career record and is 4-0-1 in foursomes, with three different partners. Pedersen will be foursomes partner No. 4. She made her cup debut in 2017, but went 0-3, losing her alternate-shot match with Reid, 5 and 3.
The U.S. anchor team pits five-time member Thompson with sophomore Altomare. The two paired in foursomes in Scotland, losing, 2 and 1, to Hall and Boutier. Thompson, however, has a career 2-1-1 mark in this format. While the Europeans will put out two rookies in the opening session, the Americans are withholding theirs.