Solheim Cup: Saturday morning foursome match predictions

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) /

As the Solheim Cup goes into the 2nd day of team play the Americans lead, but for how long?

The second round of Solheim Cup foursome and fourball matches will test not only the skill but the endurance of the teams.

As the second day of competition begins the Americans, with 5½ points on the board, have the advantage over the Europeans, who managed to collect only 2½ points on Friday. Team USA fans: don’t start celebrating. Teat Europe fans: don’t despair. Let’s take a look at the Saturday morning pairings.

The Europeans typically perform better in the foursome/alternate shot format than the Americans. The strategy is much different in this format than in conventional stroke play. In alternate shots players must consider their partner’s strengths and weaknesses, and the best alternate shots players aren’t necessarily the longest hitters but those who can be precise and accurate in their shotmaking.

Putting will be paramount this morning as the Europeans try to close the gap. With 4 points at stake, one for each match, if the Europeans can sweep the foursomes matches this morning, as they almost did on Friday, they’ll once again be in the lead.

Captain Inkster is sending her two freshest teams out first, those who didn’t play in the Friday afternoon fourball matches: Cristie Kerr & Lexi Thompson and Paula Creamer & Austin Ernst.

Match 1. Cristie Kerr & Lexi Thompson v Jodi Ewart Shadoff & Caroline Masson

The Kerr/Thompson pairing played Charley Hull and Mel Reid  to a tie and a halved match on Friday morning. They should perform better this morning against Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson. Although Ewart Shadoff and Masson are more seasoned in strategic management of the foursome/alternate shot format they are also less rested. Much will depend in this match on whether or not Kerr’s putter is working. It wasn’t in peak form on Friday. Masson will be quick to take advantage of that weakness. She was putting very competently on Friday.

Match 2. Paula Creamer & Austin Ernst v Mel Reid & Emily Pedersen

Once again we’ll be treated to a contest between two Solheim rookies. Creamer and Ernst were the only American team who didn’t pick up at least half a point on Friday and I don’t seem them as likely to do any better this morning again experienced Solheim competitor Reid and the young Dane with quite an extensive match play resume. Look for Reid & Pederson to put a point on the board for Team Europe.

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Match 3. Stacy Lewis & Gerina Piller v Anna Nordqvist & Georgia Hall

This match will be a battle. Lewis & Piller seemed to find their rhythm on Friday afternoon in fourballs and although Lewis’ putting left something to be desired, both Americans came through with some clutch putts. But the Nordqvist/Hall pairing could be deadly, especially in this format. Unfortunately, Nordqvist seems to be limited to 18 holes/day so she sat out the afternoon fourballs on Friday. Playing with Georgia Hall, Europe’s standout rookie, Nordqvist will have a reliable and skilled partner. Look for a battle of the titans and a halved match.

Match 4. Michelle Wie & Danielle Kang v Catriona Matthew & Karine Icher

Danielle Kang never stopped grinning on Friday. She’s having the time of her life and that’s showing in the game she’s playing. Can she bring Wie along in this format? They’ll be facing two wily match play competitors who both delivered dogged, gritty games on Friday. The Matthew/Icher pairing could be deadly for the Americans. They defeated Lewis & Piller Friday morning and I look for them to do the same today with Wie & Kang.

Next: Solheim Cup going into day 2

Golf Channel begins broadcast coverage of this long day of match play at 8am ET, four foursome/alternate shots matches this morning followed by four fourballs/better ball matches this afternoon.