Solheim Cup level after US day-two fightback

By Iain CarterBBC golf correspondent
Melissa Reid and Laura Davies
Davies became the leading points scorer in Solheim Cup history

Solheim Cup scores (external site)external-link

The United States will go into the final day of the Solheim Cup level with Europe after fighting back from a point behind to finish Saturday's play with the scores tied at 8-8.

Laura Davies, partnering fellow Englishwoman Melissa Reid, recorded the home side's only point in the fourball session and in the process became the highest scorer in the history of the competition, taking her tally to 24½ points.

But the United States were able to take advantage of opposing captain Alison Nicholas's decision to rest two of her best players in a bid to keep them fresh for the final day, moving level after they had trailed 4½-3½ after the first day.

Sophie Gustafson and Catriona Matthew were left watching as Morgan Pressel and Ryann O'Toole led the US fightback.

The American pair combined for their team's lone foursomes success against Karen Stupples and Christel Boeljon and after lunch they helped different partners to crucial wins.

Pressel and Christie Kerr secured victory on the final green against Suzann Pettersen and Caroline Hedwall after both Scandanavians missed birdie putts that would have forced a half.

Controversial captain's pick O'Toole more than justified her selection, the world number 102 teaming up with Stacy Lewis to beat Boeljon and Sandra Gal.

Like Kerr, Paula Creamer has played in every session but showed no sign of fatigue as she recorded three back-nine birdies alongside Britanny Lincicome. Their 3&1 win over Maria Hjorth and Azahara Munoz capped America's best session of the match.

Davies surpassed Annika Sorenstam's record of 24 Solheim Cup points, sharing in a 4&3 victory with Reid over Michelle Wie and Brittany Lang.

Unhappy at being left out of both foursomes sessions, the 47-year-old used an old putter rescued from her shed at the beginning of the week and from the third reeled off four birdies in five holes.

"It's the one I used between 1994 and 1996 and I won about 24 tournaments with it," Davies said.

After two defeats on the final hole on the first day Reid also made telling contributions. Her birdie at the ninth took them four up, an advantage that was re-established with an eagle at the long 12th.

Davies sealed her historic win with a huge eagle putt that nestled next to the hole at the 15th.

"It's nice to finally get past Annika and it's nice to have done it before the singles," she said. "Now I can go out there and not worry because I might not be out here again."

The veteran admitted she wanted to play in every session and would have preferred to feel less fresh going into the final-day singles. She said: "I'm not a good watcher. I'd rather be tired and have played a couple more games."

In Davies' morning absence Europe stretched their lead by winning the foursomes 2½-1½, with Matthew and Munoz snatching the crucial half in the bottom match to put Nicholas's team 7-5 ahead.

American number one Kerr holed from five feet for a birdie at the 17th to move ahead but a par at the last proved enough for the European pair, Munoz providing the heroics by sinking a testing four footer.

Winning the foursomes appeared to vindicate Nicholas's decision to rest world number two Pettersen - the home captain has ensured all her players have missed at least one session.

Gustafson had won her third match in a row when she combined with the highly impressive Hedwall in a 6&5 thrashing of Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis in the top morning foursomes.

But the resurgent Americans fought back in the afternoon to set up an exciting final day.