Solheim Cup 2011: Day 2 results and Day 3 prospects
And thus does the 2011 Solheim Cup come down to singles matches. Some might argue that this is as it should be, while others would bemoan the fact that 16 pairs matches have accomplished nothing to unlevel the status of the matches in two days’ time.
Team USA should be complimented for surging back with victories in day two’s three final matches, erasing a 5-8 deficit in the process. Team Europe should be applauded for claiming 8 points over the first two days, to give itself a chance at a favorable outcome on Sunday. Therefore, by the power vested in me, I give you my predictions for tomorrow’s individual matches:
Catriona Matthew vs. Paula Creamer
You know what they say about the first match…if Matthew can hang around past the 15th hole in this one, she will present hope to her teammates. Creamer has won 3.5 of 4 possible points this week and is the standard-bearer for the USA team.
PREDICTION: Creamer, 2 & 1 (USA +1)
Sophie Gustafson vs. Stacy Lewis
This is a match that Gustafson must steal. Lewis is a comer for the American side, but her international experience is limited. Gustafson is a wily veteran and must grab an early point for her side. The reverse of the previous match…if Lewis can last deep into this one, it bodes well for Team USA.
PREDICTION: Gustafson, 3 & 2 (All Square)
Anna Nordqvist vs. Morgan Pressel
A tough one to pick. Both ladies won major championships early on in their careers, then searched unsuccessfully for half-decades to recapture the magic. Both are top ten finishers but inconsistent challengers for victories on tour.
PREDICTION: Nordqvist, 1 up (Europe +1)
Laura Davies vs. Juli Inkster
If ever there was a “Salute” match, this is the one. Two great champions, two ladies who have meant everything to women’s golf in their respective nations, head to head for one final time. If this one ends in anything but a tie, I’ll be stunned.
PREDICTION: Halved (Europe +1)
Melissa Reid vs. Vicky Hurst
Absolutely dire for the Euros, as the next two continentals are the weakest links in the lineup. Reid needs to take advantage of an incredibly-inexperienced (yet talented) Vicky Hurst and put Europe up by 2 points.
PREDICTION: Reid, 2 up (Europe +2)
Christel Boeljon vs. Brittany Lincicome
Lincicome can and must give her team a lift in this 6th of 12 matches. If BL can get out to a 4-hole lead after nine and close out Boeljon by the 12th or 13th hole, Team USA gets an adrenalin shot. If CB can stave off defeat for additional holes, there will be less red on the board and more hope for the blues.
Prediction: Lincicome, 6 & 5 (Europe +1)
Sandra Gal vs. Brittany Lang
See previous match.
PREDICTION: Lang, 5 & 4 (All Square)
Maria Hjorth vs. Christina Kim
Another tide-turner. Hjorth has experience while Kim plays with all the passion of the world. The whoop it up girl versus the stoic Swede. Europe needs an upset and a derailer here and Hjorth needs a career-defining victory.
PREDICTION: Hjorth, 1 up (Europe +1)
Suzann Pettersen vs. Michelle Wie
The one who is versus the one who might still be. Pettersen is the Paula Creamer of the European team. Anything less than a victory here would crush Europe’s hopes. I’m surprised that she is going out this late. My guess is that you don’t want to leave all your rookies alone on the putting green, right?
PREDICTION: Pettersen, 4 & 3 (Europe +2)
Caroline Hedwall vs. Ryann O’Toole
So difficult to pick. O’Toole has the most pressure of any American and it will be interesting to see how she responds. I suspect that she will either go up or down big in the first six holes and may have trouble controlling the adrenalin rush, at least enough to win.
PREDICTION: O’Toole, 1 up (Europe +1)
Azahara Munoz vs. Angela Stanford
Scribes and Stanford herself have fancied the Texan to be a gritty competitor who never releases the hold she has on you. Her record says otherwise. Munoz will make a name for herself in this match and bring the Solheim Cup to Europe.
PREDICTION: Munoz, 2 & 1 (Europe Wins)
Karen Stupples vs. Cristie Kerr
Kerr will be infuriated that attention is diverted from this sure-thing versus Stupples. With Europe already holding the Cup with both hands, Kerr will insist that the match be played out and will win versus a who-cares Stupples.
PREDICTION: Kerr, 3 & 2 (Europe 14.5, USA 13.5)
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