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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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    Euro thrash! Team USA faces big early deficit at Solheim Cup, despite controversial ruling

    Toledo, Ohio — With music blaring and the crowd caffeinated, the first tee ball was struck before 8 a.m. And yet, it took until 5:39 p.m. Saturday for Team USA to put an American flag on the scoreboard — and even that didn’t come without controversy.

    Team Europe dominated the first day of the Solheim Cup, the biggest event in women’s golf, surging to a 5½-2½ lead on Saturday at historic Inverness Club. The only matches Team USA won came in best ball — easily the most dramatic being the 1-up victory by Nelly Korda, world No. 1 and Olympic gold medalist, and Ally Ewing, over Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Madelene Sagstrom.

    Despite every match being tight, United States only managed a half-point in the morning alternate-shot matches, to Europe’s 3½ points.

    Team USA's Nelly Korda reacts on the 14th hole.

    This ties the greatest deficit for any team after the first day of the Solheim Cup. The United States held 5½-2½ leads in 1998, 2000 and 2017, and went on to win easily all three years.

    “It happens,” Team USA captain Pat Hurst said. “It didn’t go our way this morning.”

    In some ways, mostly the lopsided score, Day 1 was reminiscent of the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, where the American men, heavily favored like these American women, shockingly trailed 6½-1½ after the opening sessions. The Day 1 drama that week was Hal Sutton pairing Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, not the best of friends those days. At Inverness, the drama came from a much lesser-known walking rules official. There’s one with every group, but you almost never notice them. Unless…

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