USA Solheim Cup team captain Stacy Lewis couldn’t have envisaged a better start as her side took a clean sweep in the morning foursomes session and she was extremely proud of the fight she saw in her side, particularly in the middle matches where Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee beat Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall, and Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz took down Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist.
“No, you could not ask for much more,” she said of the start. “We knew just seeing the pairings, those middle two matches were going to be tough. We saw a ton of fight in our girls and fortunately we were on the right side of it.
Lewis sprang something of a surprise by sending Lexi Thompson out in the opening match alongside Megan Khang and the US side’s veteran had the honour of hitting the opening tee shot. Thompson has endured a difficult season and qualified via the world rankings although she’s continued to slide down after a decade inside the top-20.
“I just had a feeling yesterday,” Lewis explained. “She wasn’t in my lineup that I’ve had for a couple weeks, and just the way the last four days have gone, just the way she seemed mentally, it just — I had a good feeling about it.
“Megan’s been playing amazing obviously the last month or so. So I literally went to them with about three holes left in their practice round and said, Hey, can you figure out some golf balls, and fortunately, they managed it and got the win.”
Despite the desire to get all 12 of her players in action on day one competing with the desire to keep the foot down, she opted to change things up and get game time for everybody.
“Really sticking to what we got,” she responded when asked what the gameplan was. “We were looking at how people were playing this morning and getting those that didn’t play out, so I love this afternoon too.”
Having competed in four Solheim Cups herself, she is well aware of the importance of momentum and building on the advantage they’ve accrued in the early stages.
“It’s massive,” she said. “We’ve never even — not only have we never gone 4-0, I don’t think, but we’ve never led after this session since — I mean, it’s been a long time. So that was a key for me, is I wanted to get four really good pairings out this morning and get the momentum and get off to a good start.
“No, as soon as that [final] putt went in, I got on the radio and just said, Look, it’s 2-2. Let’s go back out. Let’s go back to work.”
Despite the ‘pod system’ working so well for America in the Ryder Cup and it being used extensively in recent Solheim Cups as well, Lewis opted to abandon it and go on feel and intuition in building partnerships, something that was the source of much debate in the leadup.
“There was second guessing outside of this team room, I can tell you that much,” Lewis said when asked if she felt she’d silenced some critics with the morning pairings. “I think the way the girls have bought into the process and that’s what you saw today, they saw the proof of that. They believed in me and then they went and played some unbelievable golf.”