The Solheim Cup has long been likened as the Ryder Cup of women’s golf. The matchplay format replicates the men’s event and with it comes the same doses of partisan support and drama. It should be noted though that the power base of the game is now so dominated by Asia, that American Lexi Thompson is the only top 10 player on display, and that half the players here rank outside the world’s top 40.
Last time, in Europe, a feisty encounter saw the Americans pull off a Medinah style comeback from 10-6 down on away soil heading into the closing day singles and grab the trophy.
The huge danger for the Europeans has to be that if anything their team has weakened since, cannot hope to match the scoring through the pairs events of last time, and yet seem lined up for a similar singles drubbing. That already looked an issue when injury struck European headliner Suzann Pettersen, ruling her out and a late substitution in of veteran Catriona Mathew.
Europe stormed to an 18-10 win in the US 4 years ago. These matches have habits of producing some awful symmetry and a matching margin win for the USA in the partisan fields of Iowa looks worth a speculative gamble.
Believing that points will be at a premium for the visitors, the top European points scorer market looks rife for a big gun likely to play in 4 or all 5 of the sessions. With Pettersen out, and top-ranked European Anna Nordqvist still struggling for energy battling glandular fever, it is likely to be Carlota Ciganda and Charley Hull who will bear the brunt of team leaders.
Ciganda is super consistent and a strong match-player, but Hull is already in a 3rd Solheim Cup and has amassed 6 points in two previous matches. A formidable singles player, she should be game for around 2.5pts, and that could be enough to top the visitors’ standings.
Sorry we can’t be more pro-European, but this could be a disaster movie in the making, a true Poseidon Adventure, with the ship sunk from an early stage, and only the Hull offering any hope of escape…
Correct Score: USA 18 – 10 Europe, 1pt win, 22/1 generally available
Charley Hull, Top European Points Scorer, 1pt win, 5/1 Skybet, Stan James
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