Lisa and Leona Maguire contributed two points to the cause as Europe opened up a slender 7-5 lead over the United States after an engrossing opening day at the PING Junior Solheim Cup match at Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort in Trim, writes Colin Callander.

However, at one point the home side’s advantage looked liked being much more substantial before the visiting side mounted an impressive comeback late in the day.

Lotta Neumann’s European side got off to the best possible start when they defeated the visiting Americans 5-1 in the morning foursomes but the Americans bounced back with a gutsy 4-2 victory in the fourballs to set up an engrossing finale in the morning.

Heading into the final day, Europe requires 5 ½ points from the remaining 12 singles to avenge the American victory in the last PING Junior Solheim Cup match played at Aurora Golf Club, Illinois, two years ago and also to level the series score at 3-3 since the contest was inaugurated at Oak Ridge, Minnesota, back in 2002. The Americans need seven points to retain the trophy and to break the sequence which, to date, has seen the home side win the trophy on each occasion the match has been played.

The Europeans were looking for a fast start in front of the large crowds assembled at Knightsbrook and that is exactly what their got on a day when fine spells of weather were interrupted by the occasional blustery shower.

English duo, Charley Hull and Lauren Taylor, lost the top foursome by 2&1 to Mariah Stackhouse and Jaye Marie Green but Welsh girl, Amy Boulden and her Swedish partner, Emma Nilsson, levelled the score before the 16 year-old Irish twins, Lisa and Leona Maguire, put the home side in front for the first time with a closely-fought one hole victory over Emma Talley and McKenzie Talbert.

Thereafter, the home side really came into its own. The impressive French duo, Manon Gidali and Celine Boutier, defeated US pair, Esther Lee and Gabriella Then by one hole in a match in which both sides shared eight birdies. Spaniard, Luna Sabron and another French girl, Emilie Alonso, also won on the 18th, against Lindsey Weaver and Ashlan Ramsay before German Girls’ champion, Antonia Scherer, and her Belgian partner, Margaux Vanmol, the reigning British Girls’ champion, rounded the morning off with a comprehensive 4&3 victory over Karen Chung and Alison Lee.   

The afternoon fourballs provided an altogether different storyline and one that sets up an intriguing climax to the competition.  

Leona Maguire and Lauren Taylor briefly gave Europe a five point advantage when they defeated Kyung Kim and Karen Chung by 3 & 2. Amy Boulden and Emma Nilsson, plus Manon Gidali and Celine Boutier, also provided half points for the home side but elsewhere the scoreboard turned into a sea of red figures as Lindsey Weaver and Mariah Stackhouse, McKenzie Talbert and Summar Roachell, and Gabriella Then and Emma Talley all produced valuable US victories to reduce the overnight deficit to just two points.

“We were disappointed to lose five  matches this morning but delighted with our fight back this afternoon,” said the US captain, Meg Mallon.

“It’s been a great day’s golf and sets things up nicely for tomorrow.

“Overall, we’re happy to be going into the second day with a two point lead,” said Europe’s captain, Lotta Neumann.

“The girls are a bit disappointed with this afternoon’s performance but I would quite happily have taken a two point lead at the start of the day.

“It’s a great platform to build on going into the singles.”

PING Junior Solheim Cup

Foursomes Scores (Europe names first)

Lauren Taylor and Charley Hull lost to Mariah Stackhouse and Jaye Marie Green 2&1

Lisa Maguire and Leona Maguire beat Emma Talley and McKenzie Talbert 1 hole

Amy Boulden and Emma Nilsson beat Kyung Kim and Summar Roachell 4&3

Manon Gidali and Celine Boutier beat Esther Lee and Gabriella Then 1 hole

Emilie Alonso and Luna Sobron beat Lindsey Weaver and Ashlan Ramsay 2 holes

Antonia Scherer and Margaux Vanmol beat Karen Chung and Alison Lee 4&3

Total – Europe 5, USA 1


Fourball Scores

Lisa Maguire and Charley Hull lost to Lindsey Weaver and Mariah Stackhouse 1 hole

Amy Boulden and Emma Nilsson halved with Jaye Maria Green and Ashlan Ramsay

Leona Maguire and Lauren Taylor beat Kyung Kim and Karen Chung 3&2

Emilie Alonso and Antonia Scherer lost to McKenzie Talbert and Summar Roachell 2&1

Manon Gidali and Celine Boutier halved with Alison Lee and Esther Lee

Margaux Vanmol and Luna Sabron lost to Gabriella Then and Emma Talley 3&1

Total – Europe 2, USA 4

Total at End of Day 1- Europe 7, USA 5

Draw for the Second Day Singles

(Tee times start at 08.00 and running at 11 minute intervals)

Emma Nilsson v Jaye Marie Green

Leona Maguire v Mariah Stackhouse

Lauren Taylor v Gabriella Then

Amy Boulden v Emma Talley

Manon Gidali v Ashlan Ramsey

Luna Sobron v Summar Roachell

Lisa Maguire v Alison Lee

Antonia Scherer v McKenzie Talbert

Margaux Vanmol v Kyung Kim

Emilie Alonso v Esther Lee

Charley Hull v Lindsey Weaver

Celine Boutier v Karen Chung