WEST DES MOINES, IOWA | Might as well get the bad blood out in the open early. When the Solheim Cup captains announced their pairings late on Thursday afternoon, there were a few eyebrows raised and some audible hoots at the first matchup. Going out at 8:10, firebrand Mel Reid, arguably the most charismatic member of the European team and the woman who would have inarguably been the hero of the matches in Germany had the Europeans hung on to win, will pair with Charley Hull against the American duo of Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.
Kerr is the American version of Suzann Pettersen, the person the Euros want to beat more than any other, while taking down Thompson, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, would be a trophy for anyone.
Almost forgotten is the fact that Hull was Suzann Pettersen’s partner in Germany two years ago during what the Europeans call “the row,” the concession incident on Sunday morning that served as rallying point for an historic U.S. comeback. You can bet that Kerr and Thompson haven’t forgotten about it.
Friday Morning Foursomes
|All Times CDT
|Match 1 (8:10 a.m.)||Mel Reid/Charley Hull||vs.
||Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson|
|Match 2 (8:22 a.m.)||Carlota Ciganda/Caroline Masson||vs.
||Danielle Kang/Lizette Salas|
|Match 3 (8:34 a.m.)||Anna Nordqvist/Georgia Hall||vs.
||Paula Creamer/Austin Ernst|
|Match 4 (8:46 a.m.)||Karine Icher/Catriona Matthew||vs.
||Stacy Lewis/Gerina Piller|
The second match at 8:22 features American rookie Danielle Kang going out with Lizette Salas against Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson. Juli Inkster masterfully put one of her most high-strung players, Kang, with one of the calmest, Salas.
Match 3 also has the potential for fireworks as Anna Nordqvist and long-hitting Georgia Hall go out against Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst. The Americans in this match carry a virtual lumberyard of chips on their shoulders. Creamer wants an early point to prove that Insker made the right call by choosing her as the alternate who eventually replaced the injured Jessica Korda, while Ernst, the rookie passed over for a captain’s pick two years ago, wants to prove that she has what it takes to win in this environment.
Rounding out the morning, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, will go against Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew. How that American duo performs could set the tone for the rest of the week.
Inkster admitted that all her players would go out on Day 1, which means Angel Yin, Michelle Wie and the two Brittanys, Lincicome and Lang, will be a part of the afternoon matches. European captain Annika Sörenstam declined to comment on her afternoon plans.