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Europe show 'purpose' with Solheim lead

Europe's women took a 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 lead over United States after a dramatic opening day in the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle yesterday.

The morning foursomes were shared 2-2 but the home side had the advantage in the afternoon fourballs, winning them 2 1/2-1 1/2 after being up in all four matches at one point.

"My team played with passion and purpose," Europe captain Alison Nicholassaid. "It's been a long day and I'm exhausted but it was entertainment from start to finish.

"Tomorrow I want the crowd to come out and shout and scream for Europe. This is a home match and I want them to really get on our side."

Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson both picked up two points for Europe while Paula Creamer shone for the visitors.

In the afternoon fourballs Gustafson and 22-year-old newcomer Caroline Hedwall scored a 5 & 4 win over Lincicome and Vicky Hurst.

"I had so much fun out there and Sophie was great to play with," said Hedwall. "I loved every moment."


Catriona Matthew, the 2009 British Open champion, won her foursomes with Spain's Azahara Munoz and added a half-point in the fourballs with German Sandra Gal.

The afternoon match against Christina Kim and rookie Ryann O'Toole reflected the swinging change in fortunes. Two down after five holes, Matthew then birdied five in a row.

The Europeans were two up with three to play but then the US duo hit form, Kim holing a monster putt for a two at the short 16th and O'Toole making a 25-foot putt at the 17th.

"My side showed a lot of heart to come back in the fourballs after there was a lot of (European) blue on the board," said US captain Rosie Jones.

"It was really exciting golf to watch."

The US have won eight of the 11 Solheim Cups including the last three.