Solheim Cup: For Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist, it’s Game On!
The Solheim Cup practice rounds over and the first round of foursome and fourball matches about to begin. Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson may or may not be at 100% in terms of physical health.
Thompson has struggled all week with a nagging viral infection and a sore throat. That she’s not withdrawn and sent Captain Juli Inkster shopping for a second alternate is good news for Team USA. With her long, strong tee-to-green game and her demonstrated ability to come through in the clutch, Thompson is a cornerstone player for the Americans.
Inkster has chosen the lead off with the stunningly successful Lexi Thompson/Cristie Kerr pairing for the opening foursome match. She’s going to quickly put Thompson’s physical readness to the test.
Inkster has been monitoring Thompson’s health all week and Thompson has balanced on-course preparation with getting extra rest. She looked perky enough in her Thursday afternoon press conference. What’s left now is to see if Thompson can deliver 36 holes of championship-level golf tomorrow in her first grueling test of skill and endurance.
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Nordqvist, still recovering from mononucleosis, has struggled not with her game but with the challenge of physical endurance.
With Pettersen’s injury-related withdrawal, Nordqvist will be critical to the Europeans’ quest for the Solheim Cup. She’s the highest ranked player on Team Europe. Captain Annika Sörenstam will be looking for her to deliver 36-72 holes of top play during the foursome and fourballs matches.
Nordqvist had admitted that she struggled with the Ricoh Women’s British Open physical demands two weeks ago, but she’s been easily playing full rounds during the Solheim Cup practice rounds.
Captain Sörenstam is pairing Nordqvist with one of Team Europe’s standout rookies, Englishwoman Georgia Hall for Friday mornings 3rd foursome match. The pairing could be ideal for Nordqvist, who can draw on Hall’s energy and use her strategic experience to guide the team. They’ll play against another veteran/rookie pairing, Paula Creamer/Austin Ernst.
We won’t know if either Thompson or Nordqvist is really at 100% until we see what kind of game they can deliver during the Friday-Saturday foursome/fourball matches marathon. But we’re going to get a good look very soon.
Given their respective rankings, it’s very likely Thompson and Nordqvist will be playing against each other in at least half of the foursome/fourball matches. We’ll know by Friday evening whether or not these two key players, one for Team USA and the other for Team Europe, are physically able to deliver the cutting edge game of golf that they both carry in their bags.