ST LEON-ROT, Germany (Reuters) - The second day of the Solheim Cup had it all, a heated exchange between the captains, a startling comeback, and a strong effort from Europe that gave the holders an 8-5 lead over the U.S on Saturday.
An exhaustingly long day containing a spill-over from Friday’s play meant that three afternoon fourballs will have to be completed on Sunday ahead of the 12 singles matches that are going to decide the destiny of the trophy.
After the two uncompleted fourballs from the night before both ended in halves, U.S. skipper Juli Inkster and European counterpart Carin Koch were involved in a lengthy finger-wagging dispute out on the course.
It appeared as though the American was unhappy that one of Koch’s vice-captains may have given direct advice to one of the European players.
Under Solheim Cup rules only the captain can give direct advice to one of her team members.
Inkster and Koch refused to shed light on their exchange at the end of the day.
”I don’t really want to get into it,“ the American told reporters. ”It was a little discussion but we’re all good now.
“It’s petty women stuff, ‘she said’, ‘he said’, ‘they said’, it’s over with.”
When the action resumed after the contretemps it was the home side who took a grip on proceedings, winning the morning foursomes 3-1 with teenage sensation Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen of Norway leading the way.
The European pair snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in dramatic fashion, recovering from four down with seven to play with a remarkable late surge containing five birdies including four in a row to the 18th.
The fightback helped the 19-year-old Englishwoman, the only ever-present on either side this week, maintain her 100 percent record at St Leon-Rot and take her overall Solheim Cup total of victories to five in six outings.
“That was amazing,” said Koch. “That’s what it’s all about, for everyone around the world watching this tournament to see that and see all the birdies, it’s so exciting.”
Less exciting for Koch was the way the American team launched a collective rally in the afternoon fourballs, winning one match, taking the lead in two more and going one down in the other.
Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr, the linchpins of the U.S. side, picked up their second victory in three attempts by brushing aside Spanish pair Azahara Munoz and Carlota Ciganda 3 and 2.
On Sunday morning, Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome will resume one up on Pettersen and Hull through 15 holes.
Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller are also one up on Swede Caroline Hedwall and German Caroline Masson after 16 while Europeans Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew are one up on Lizette Salas and Brittany Lang with three holes remaining.
Europe are looking to win the women’s version of the Ryder Cup for the third edition running and much will depend on how the uncompleted fourballs finish in the morning.
“I still feel like we’re doing really well,” said Swede Koch after a day of sunshine and showers in south-west Germany.
“We have eight points and we need six more so I feel great going into tomorrow.”
Editing by Clare Lovell