Europe have narrow lead after Solheim first day

    Sophie Gustafson and Caroline Hedwall celebrate their afternoon fourballs victory for Europe

    Story highlights

    • Europe lead United States 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 after opening day of Solheim Cup
    • Morning session shared 2-2 before Europe pull ahead in afternoon fourballs
    • Swede Sophie Gustafson and Norway's Suzann Pettersen star for the Europeans in Ireland
    • Paula Creamer claims two points for the United States from losing positions
    Europe survived a late rally from the United States to hold a slender one-point lead after the first day of the Solheim Cup in Ireland Friday.
    After sharing the opening foursomes 2-2, Europe looked set to take a commanding lead in the afternoon fourballs until the three-time defending champions limited their losses after trailing in all four matches.
    Europe will take a 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 lead into Saturday's matches at Killeen Castle Golf Club in County Meath with Norway's Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson of Sweden playing a pivotal role.
    They paired together in the morning foursomes for a last-hole win and then secured afternoon victories with different partners.
    2010 U.S. Open champion Paula Creamer was equally influential for the U.S as she and Brittany Lincicome won the final two holes to defeat Melissa Reid and Karen Stupples by one hole in the morning.
    It was a repeat act in the fourballs, one down after 16 with Morgan Pressel against Reid and Laura Davies, Creamer made a dramatic winning birdie putt on the 17th and saw her partner drain an 18-foot putt for another winning birdie at the 18th.
    it denied veteran Davies, who has played in all 12 Solheim Cups, the half point required to overtake Annika Sorenstam as the all-time leading points scorer in the biennial team competition.
    "Both matches could prove vital. I was one down with two to play and going down the 17th told my partners 'we're not going to lose'. Even half a point can be huge so to win two was massive," she told AFP.
    World No.2 Pettersen was also in the mood for late heroics, holing a birdie putt on the final green to win her foursomes with Gustafson and then joined Anna Nordqvist in a superb final hole win over Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie.
    "I had two great partners and it has been a great day's team effort," said Pettersen, the world No.2 and a veteran of six Solheims.
    In the fourballs, Gustafson helped Caroline Hedwall to a crushing 5 and 4 win over Vicky Hurst and Lincicome.
    Catriona Matthew, the 2009 Women's British Open Champion, was also in fine form, winning her foursomes with Spain's Azahara Munoz and adding a half point in the fourballs with Sandra Gal of Germany.
    They led Christina Kim and rookie Ryann O'Toole two up with three to play, but Kim holed a massive birdie putt at the short 16th and O'Toole made a 25-foot putt at the 17th as the honors were shared.