Europe takes Solheim Cup lead amid controversial shot
by The Associated Press
August 17, 2013 12:44 AM | 740 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Europe’s Carlota Ciganda reacts after saving a controversial par on the 15th hole Friday, during the opening day of the Solheim Cup.
<BR>Associated Press photo
Europe’s Carlota Ciganda reacts after saving a controversial par on the 15th hole Friday, during the opening day of the Solheim Cup.
Associated Press photo
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With a little help from an incorrect ruling, Europe took an important step Friday toward winning the Solheim Cup on American soil.

Carlota Ciganda of Spain was allowed to hit from the wrong spot and salvaged an unlikely par from a hazard on the par-5 15th hole, keeping her and Suzann Pettersen from falling behind in a pivotal fourballs match. Pettersen won the next hole with a birdie, sending them from 2 down at the turn to a 1-up victory that staked Europe to a 5-3 lead.

A long day at Colorado Golf Club ended with Stacy Lewis, on the losing end of that match, getting into a heated discussion with an official over the use of a laser by the official to determine the right drop.

Along with using a laser, she was upset with the length of the chaotic ruling. The laser was used to make sure Ciganda’s options would be equal distance from the hole. Turns out that wasn’t the problem. Ciganda was allowed to drop some 40 yards behind, which is not allowed under Rule 26-1-c.

LPGA Tour rules official Brad Alexander, called in for a second opinion, incorrectly allowed Ciganda to hit from that spot. Because an official made the ruling, it stood even though it was wrong.

It was the first of four matches in the afternoon. Momentum was on the American side, and the three groups behind them were stacked up for a half-hour waiting.

It was a tough day for Lewis, coming off a Women’s British Open title at St. Andrews.

Lewis struggled with the pace of lightning fast greens on the front nine as she and Lizette Salas fell too far behind to catch up in morning foursomes. Lewis played with another U.S. rookie, Lexi Thompson, who twice squandered good birdie chances late in the fourballs. Lewis is 1-5 in the Solheim Cup.

It’s the second straight time that Europe has led after the opening day, winning in 2011 in Ireland. It has never won the Solheim Cup away from home.

In Europe other victory in the afternoon fourballs, Caroline and Hedwall and Caroline Masson topped Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller 2 and 1. In the U.S. victories, Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang beat Anna Nordqvist and Giulia Sergas 4 and 3, and Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr edged Catriona Matthew and 17-year-old Charley Hull 2 and 1.

In Europe’s three victories in the opening foursomes matches, Pettersen and Beatriz Recari beat Lang and Stanford 2 and 1; Hedwall and Nordqvist topped Lewis and Salas 4 and 2; Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher beat Kerr and Paula Creamer 2 and 1. Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda won for the United States, beating Matthew and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff 3 and 2.

After another round of morning foursomes and afternoon fourballs today, the competition will conclude Sunday with 12 singles matches.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Open: Kenny Perry shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Champions Tour event.

Perry, the Senior Players and U.S. Senior Open winner this summer, had three birdies over the final four holes to surge past Bart and Brad Bryant and Joel Edwards.

Perry’s round turned with a brilliant shot at the par-5 12th hole. He holed a 6-iron from 187 yards for eagle. He also had six birdies to go with one bogey, hitting 15 fairways and putting just 26 times.

Esteban Toledo, Jeff Freeman, Rick Fehr, and Russ Cochran were tied for fifth at 67 as more than half the field broke par at the short-and-narrow En-Joie Golf Club under nearly ideal scoring conditions.

U.S. Amateur: Australians Brady Watt and Oliver Goss advanced to the semifinals along with Canada’s Corey Conners and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, marking the first time that an American has failed to reach the final four.

Watt, a co-medalist in stroke-play qualifying, had a dramatic 1-up victory over 17-year-old Scottie Scheffler of Dallas. Scheffler, the U.S. Junior Amateur champion, had a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh and trailed only once — when Watt made a 5-foot par putt to win the match on the 18th hole.

Today at The Country Club, Watt will face Goss — a 5-and-3 winner over Brandon Matthews of Dupont, Pa. Fitzpatrick, trying to become the first English winner since 1911, beat Adam Ball of Richmond, Va., 4 and 3; and Conners topped co-medalist Neil Raymond of England 5 and 3.

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