Emily Pedersen made a stunning hole-in-one for Team Europe on a thrilling opening day of the Solheim Cup, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Team USA taking a 5-3 lead going into day two.
The USA swept its opponent in the morning foursomes, which sees players of each pair take alternate shots with one ball, to take an early 4-0 lead.
It’s the first time in Solheim Cup history that the USA has won a foursomes session 4-0, but Europe then closed the gap to just two points in the afternoon fourballs, a format that has each player hitting their own ball and recording the lowest score on each hole for their pair.
Pedersen’s ace at the par 3 12th at Finca Cortesin in Málaga, Spain leveled her fourball match with partner Maja Stark against Allisen Corpuz and Jennifer Kupcho, and the teams couldn’t be separated over 18 holes.
There was some late drama on the 18th as Leona Maguire produced a delightful chip-in to snatch a point for Team Europe alongside Georgia Hall, beating the American pairing of Lexi Thompson and Lilia Vu.
“I feel like we played great all day and it would have been really annoying not to come away with a point,” Maguire told Sky Sports. “So Georgia kept it together on the front nine and then I had a couple on the back.
“The Americans obviously played incredible this morning. We played well and we’ll never give up and that’s what we showed out there today.”
Hall added: “It was both of our 36th hole of the day so we’re definitely feeling it a little bit, but Leona’s shot on the last was phenomenal and just what we needed.
“That’s why she is such a great player at Solheim.”
But on a day that certainly wasn’t lacking in spectacular shots, it was Pedersen’s hole-in-one – only the second in Solheim Cup history – that became the standout moment.
Rolling down off the bank to the left of the green, the ball dropped into the cup to loud whoops and cheers from a delighted crowd. Even Corpuz, her opponent, was impressed enough to give her a high five.
That shot and the rest of the afternoon fourballs were just the tonic Team Europe needed after a difficult morning.
Buoyed by a noisy home crowd, Saturday will now look like a far less daunting for the Europeans as Suzann Pettersen’s side continues its chase for a historic third consecutive victory.