Leona Maguire continues to roast Team USA as Europe take Solheim Cup control
That was the roar, on Saturday, as Leona Maguire and Mel Reid served one up to American pair Nelly and Jess Korda on Day One of The Solheim Cup.
In her first ever Solheim Cup outing - and as the first ever Irish player at the tournament - Maguire was pitted against the world No.1 and the Olympic champion. The Korda sisters are as lethal as you can find.
Maguire and Reid were not fazed in the slightest. The Europeans had the edge for most of the day, but did not clinch the point until the 18th. Maguire sensed the importance of the moment as she let out a roar when she dropped the winning putt.
Such was the faith that Team Europe captain Caitriona Matthew had in Maguire that she was sent back out in the afternoon - and paired with Georgia Hall - for the fourballs. Europe were 3.5 to 0.5 up after the morning session, and looking to drive home that early advantage.
The Americans - helped by a controversial ruling on a conceded putt - won the first two matches of the fourballs session, but Europe roared back with a 4&3 win for Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren.
Maguire and Hall had threatened to run away with their match, early on, but had been pegged back. Again, it came down to the 18th and it was Hall that made the difference with a birdie on 16. Maguire was solid as a rock, all the way around, with a -1 round. Her steadiness allowed Hall to attack, and it was enough for another 1-Up win.
Once again, Matthew opted to give Maguire another run-out on Sunday morning at the Iverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The Cavan native was again paired with Reid as they faced off against Nelly Korda, again, and Ally Ewing.
This one was sheer domination from Maguire and Reid. They carded eight birdies over the first 12 holes to go 6-Up over a stunned American duo. As the Europeans walked off the 12th green - winning with a par - the NBC commentator declared:
"The rookie from Ireland has delivered BIG for her team!"
Maguire was putting like a dream and Reid was on a hot streak too. The only bogey the pair made, over the first 12 holes, was on the sixth - the same hole the Americans birdied.
Korda and Ewing dove-tailed superbly to card a stunning eagle on the 13th and keep the match alive. Korda striped a sweet drive, Ewing made the fringe with her approach and her teammate then curled in a superb 30-foot putt.
The Americans threatened to get another hole back back on the 14th when Korda made a sublime approach. Reid answered back with a flop shot of Mickelson proportions and left Maguire with a putt to win it. The rookie held her nerve on a 10-foot putt and let out a roar, "Come on! Let's go!' after it dropped.
Another point for Team Europe! 🔵
Leona Maguire holes the putt to secure a 5&4 win for her and Mel Reid over Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing! pic.twitter.com/QXHXJYliFF
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 5, 2021
A 5&4 win for Maguire and Reid as Europe put another point on the board for Team Europe.
The morning turned on its' head, though, as the Americans won the other three games to reduce the Europeans lead. Heading into the afternoon session, it was 6.5 to 5.5 to Team Europe.