Saturday, September 24, 2011

DUNSANY, Ireland (AP) — Spanish rookie Azahara Munoz holed a par putt on the 18th to help Europe extend its lead over the United States to 7-5 in the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle this morning.
Americans Cristie Kerr and Paul Creamer went one up on Munoz and North Berwick's Catriona Matthew in the final match of the morning foursomes when Kerr birdied the 17th.
But Kerr bunkered her side's approach to the last and couldn't save par from 12 feet, allowing the Europeans to halve the match with a winning par and double Europe's overnight lead to two points.
"I was just thinking I couldn't let Catriona down," the 23-year-old Munoz, pictured, winner of the British women's open amateur championship at Harlech in 2009 just before she turned pro,  said of her pressure-packed 3-footer at the last. "We had been fighting so hard all day. I just said I've hit a million balls like this, so I just focused and I hit it."
The United States is bidding to win the Solheim Cup for the fourth straight time. But European captain Alison Nicholas said she had "a good feeling" about the outcome and hailed Europe's halved match in the final foursomes as "absolutely massive."
Europe started the day leading by 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 points and won the morning session 2 1/2-1 1/2 as Caroline Hedwall and Sophie Gustafson beat US pair Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis 6 and 5.
Morgal Pressel and Ryann O'Toole had a 3 and 2 victory over Europe's Karen Stupples and Christel Boeljon, but Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist defeated Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster 3 and 2 to restore Europe's two-point advantage.
The US side captained by Rosie Jones had trailed in all four foursomes at one stage of the morning but looked set to split the session when Kerr and Creamer went one up with three to play against Munoz and Matthew.
Munoz birdied the 16th to square the match before Kerr put the Americans in front again at the 17th. However, the world third-ranked player bunkered her approach to the 381-yard 18th.
Europe needs a total of 14 1/2 points to win the trophy for the first time since 2003 with four four-balls later today and 12 singles tomorrow.