American rookies Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae took on Europe’s rookie Sophia Popov and Celine Boutier in Sunday’s afternoon fourballs and defeated the Europeans, 3 and 1.
The front nine saw the U.S. rookies make the turn with a 3- up lead courtesy of three birdies from Harigae at 2, 3 and 9. Early on, it looked like Captain Pat Hurst’s faith in her all-rookie squad was well-earned.
“Mina made lots of good putts on the front nine and really got the crowd going, too, from that. It was good,” said Noh. “It was good to have a lead on the front nine for once. I think it was our first time having a lead.”
As any golf fans knows, no lead is ever safe in match play. The European duo birdied holes 10, 12 and 13 to tie the match and set up a shootout for the last five holes.
But the Americans were determined to come out and win a match in their first Solheim Cup. Harigae converted another birdie at No. 14 to reclaim a 1-up lead, and two more birdies at 16 and 17 gave the Americans another point.
“I think we were just ready to go more than anything. We were champing at the bit watching the morning matches, especially their comebacks,” said Harigae. “I think that motivated us more. And pairing two rookies together, and we both got our first Solheim Cup points, that's a memory that is one of my best golf experiences.”