Azahara Muñoz holes out ont he 18th to give Europe a crucial half in the final foursomes. Picture by Jenny Matthews/www.golffile.ieSpanish rookie Azahara Muñoz holed a crucial par putt on the 18th to help Europe extend its lead over the over the United States to 7-5 in the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle today.

Americans Cristie Kerr and Paul Creamer went one up on Muñoz and Scot Catriona Matthew in the final match of the morning foursomes when Kerr birdied the 17th from six feet.

But the American bunkered her approach to the last and couldn’t save par from 12 feet, allowing the Europeans to halve the match with a winning par four and double the home side’s overnight lead to two points.

“I was just thinking I couldn’t let Catriona down,” 23-year old Muñoz said of her pressure-packed three-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 time in a row but European captain Alison Nicholas is pleased with Europe’s position following a second successive session win.

“It’s been another great foursomes for us - just fantastic to win the session again,” Nicholas said. “Sophie and Caroline got us off to a great start, they played awesome golf, while Anna and Maria got their point at just the right time, straight after Karen and Christel lost and the Americans were getting louder.

“But that stopped them and what more can I say about Aza and Catriona. That was a gusty, brilliant half and it was vital for us. We wanted to win the session and to do it again means I’m very proud and pleased of the girls. It sets us up for our fourballs nicely.”

Europe won the session 2 1/2 points to 1 1/2 as Caroline Hedwall and Sophie Gustafson beat US pair Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis 6 and 5. The Swedes were three under par and the Americans and estimated five over.

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.

Rosie Jones’ US side 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 Muñoz and Matthew.

Muñoz birdied the 16th to square the match before Kerr put the US in front again with that birdie at the 17th.

However, the world’s third ranked player bunkered her approach to the 381-yard 18th and failed with her par putt before Muñoz holed from three feet to win the hole in par and halve the match.

Europe needs 14 1/2 points following Sunday’s 12 singles to win the trophy for the first time since 2003.

Results Saturday from the Solheim Cup at the par-72, 6,587-yard Killeen Castle course:


Europe 2 1/2, United States 1 1/2

Caroline Hedwall and Sophie Gustafson, Europe def. Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis, United States 6 and 5;

Morgan Pressel and Ryann O’Toole, United States def. Karen Stupples and Christel Boeljon, Europe 3 and 2;

Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist, Europe def. Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster, United States 3 and 2;

Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer, United States halved with Catriona Matthew and Azahara Muñoz, Europe.

Fourball pairings, Saturday afternoon
1245 BST Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie, United States versus Laura Davies and Melissa Reid, Europe;

1300 BST Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr, United States versus Suzann Pettersen and Caroline Hedwall, Europe;

1315 BST Stacy Lewis and Ryann O’Toole, United States versus Sandra Gal and Christel Boeljon, Europe;

1330 BST Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome, United States versus Maria Hjorth and Azahara Muñoz, Europe.