2023 Solheim Cup: Americans dominate in historic morning session

The Americans are off to a ripping-fast start at the Solheim Cup. Here’s what you missed on Friday morning.

The post 2023 Solheim Cup: Americans dominate in historic morning session appeared first on Golf.

The Americans are off to a ripping-fast start at the Solheim Cup. Here’s what you missed on Friday morning.

The post 2023 Solheim Cup: Americans dominate in historic morning session appeared first on Golf.

CASARES, Spain — The Solheim Cup began in earnest well before dawn on Friday.

It was then, around 6 a.m. local time, that the first fans began to charge onto the property at Finca Cortesin, arriving both in droves and, often, in full sprint.

The space surrounding the cavernous grandstand ringing the first tee box filled quickly, leaving some who arrived in darkness to wander down the 1st fairway. By the time the sun finally peeked over the bleachers, the fans had been dancing and chanting for the better part of two hours. The noise when the first of the Solheim Cuppers arrived was, charitably, deafening.

But just as quickly as the first pairings arrived for the first of two Friday sessions, the last ones disappeared from sight. The action — the real work of winning and losing the Solheim Cup — would come not only on the 1st hole but also on the 17 that followed.

For those who weren’t in southern Spain Friday morning, it’s very likely you did not bother to wake up in darkness to watch golf. That’s quite alright, because below, we’ll get you caught up on everything you need to know, starting with the scene on hole No. 1.

5 things you missed on Solheim Cup Friday Morning

1. The fun begins

It’s always interesting to see the way the teams respond to the 1st tee box at Ryder and Solheim Cups, and that felt especially true Friday morning.

The 1st hole, a drivable par 4 guarded by a massive pond, threatened immediate danger upon the alternate shot pairings who found themselves with a case of first-tee jitters. Any left miss is an auto-water ball; any right miss is sent careening into a nasty greenside bunker. A good shot — and only a good shot — is rewarded.

So it was perhaps telling when the Americans, who entered the morning as heavy underdogs, sent Lexi Thompson out to start the Cup with a driver in her hands. On the first swing of the day, Thompson blasted a drive that skittered just right into the bunker, leaving easy work for a par with teammate, Megan Khang. When their European counterparts Maja Stark and Linn Grant bungled the first, Thompson and Khang managed to jump out to an early lead en route to a 2-and-1 victory — a development that would become a theme in the early going.

In all, the U.S. jumped out to 1st-hole leads in three of the four morning pairings, and would ride each of those leads to eventual victories.

2. American Glory

The Americans — losers of the last two Solheim Cups and road warriors in Spain — were unquestioned underdogs to start the week, but they certainly didn’t look the part on Friday morning. The U.S. claimed their best first session in Solheim Cup history on Friday morning, winning all four matches to take a commanding 4-0 lead heading into Friday afternoon’s fourball.

Three key pieces of the American core — Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang and Nelly Korda — played huge roles in that victory, which has to be a massive confidence boost for U.S. captain Stacy Lewis.

That performance was even more impressive considering the American who wasn’t in the fold: Lilia Vu, the World No. 2 and two-time major-winner in 2023, who Lewis sat out of the morning session. Lewis teased Thursday that Vu would find her way into Friday afternoon’s fourball, but she might have a hard time unseating some of the pros who contributed to Friday morning’s four-point lead.

3. The Kor-Tour

The only U.S. pairing who didn’t take a 1st-hole lead on Friday? That would belong to the alternate shot tandem of Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz.

Korda, a three-time Cupper, got her tournament off to an inauspicious start on Friday when she dunked her opening tee shot in the water, then yanked a 15-footer to split the hole well left of the cup. To make matters worse, Korda and Corpuz had arguably the toughest matchup of the day against the Euro match play buzzsaw of Anna Nordqvist and Leona Maguire.

The two Kors — Korda and Corpuz — settled in quickly, though, erasing the deficit and jumping out to a 2 Up lead at the turn they wouldn’t relinquish. Korda seemed to be in complete control as her pairing’s dominant ball-striker, while Corpuz counterbalanced with a red-hot putter.

Maguire and Nordqvist applied pressur down the closing stretch with a pair of huge made putts from Maguire on Nos. 16 and 17, but Korda/Corpuz closed the door on the 18th hole to win 1 Up.

Nelly Korda helped key a massive U.S. morning session on Friday at the Solheim Cup. Getty Images

4. A Euro nightmare

It was a shaky Friday morning for the Europeans, who gifted the Americans their best Solheim Cup start ever in southern Spain. Much as the American romp was aided by mistake-free play from the U.S. side, it was benefited by careless Euro mistakes up and down Finca Cortesin.

The Euros were supposed to be the more experienced of the two Solheim Cup squads, with only three rookies to the Americans’ five, but they surely didn’t look that way on Friday morning. Europe will need a major switch-up heading into the afternoon fourball matches, otherwise it could be getting late early for the home team.

5. Blowout SZN

The first session of tournament week always brings with it at least one blowout, and on Friday, that effort belonged to the American pairing of Cheyenne Knight and Ally Ewing.

Knight and Ewing closed out Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen 5-and-4 in the final match of the morning, but in truth, even that’s underselling it. The two Americans were 5 Up after just six holes on Friday morning, reached 6 Up through 9 and cruised to close out the match on the 13th.

In a sign of just how wide the margin was, Knight and Ewing were the last match off on Friday morning, but the first match to finish.

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