Michelle Wie may resemble a table top when she putts, but her other-worldly short game made Meg Mallon look like a genius for using a captain’s pick to add the controversial former prodigy to the U.S. Solheim Cup team.
And after Wie and Cristie Kerr dispatched Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull, 2 and 1, in Friday afternoon’s final fourball match, giving the Americans only their third point of a long day, the 23-year-old Wie expressed her unbridled joy for all things about this week in golf.
"I love match play. I love Solheim. I love my country and I love Cristie Kerr," a beaming Wie exclaimed to Golf Channel after two-putting the 17th green to win her match. "I just had a blast out here."
Small wonder, what with wizardry like her third shot on No. 13, a chip from the second cut way above the pin that wandered into the hole and prompted several spirited fist pumps, a couple of exuberant skips, and a finger-waggling high-five of her star-spangled fingernails with her teammate.
"This is so much fun. It’s an opportunity that comes once [or maybe three times, so far, in Wie’s case] in a lifetime," Wie said. "I really had fun."
Which was probably not how Stacy Lewis would describe her Friday.
The reigning Women’s British Open winner, a 4 and 2 loser, with Lizette Salas in the morning foursomes to Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall, ran her overall Solheim Cup record to 1-5 when she and rookie Lexi Thompson lost 1-up to Suzann Pettersen and Carlota Ciganda in the afternoon. Lewis ended her day by engaging an official in a vehement dispute about a ruling on the 15th hole concerning where Ciganda, who was wild all day, should drop her ball after hitting her 270-yard approach shot into a hazard.
The decision took a ridiculous 25 to 30 minutes to resolve, leaving Lewis and Thompson to cool their heels, the pro-U.S. crowd to chant, "While we’re young!" and the Twitter-verse to explode.
Ciganda makes par on 15 after a 15-hour ruling. Hole halved. Lexi Thompson celebrated 19th and 20th birthday waiting to play.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) August 16, 2013
Does the thin Rocky Mtn air have Solheim Cup rules officials losing their minds? #getmoving— Damon Hack (@damonhackGC) August 16, 2013
Lewis and Pepper argued, to no avail, that the official was out of bounds in using a laser to provide yardage information to Ciganda, who finally took a drop, hit her ball to the some 15 feet above the hole, and drilled in a par-saving putt from the fringe.
I've never seen an official use a laser in my life!— Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley) August 17, 2013
Lewis was not amused.
"It took way too long," she told the Associated Press. "It killed the momentum of our match, it killed the momentum of the matches behind us, and it's just not what you want the rules officials to ever do."
Jessica Korda and Morgan Pressel provided the U.S. with its only point of the morning, but not without some adventure. Korda, a 20-year-old Solheim Cup rookie has learned a few things from her tennis-playing father. But Petr Korda likely never taught his daughter how to toss her cookies (or in this case, a banana) and then come back and throw darts to win a match.
Because that’s just what the younger Korda did in what was truly a baptism by fire in her introduction to the biennial competition with Europe on Friday morning at Colorado Golf Club.
"I was more nervous when Morgan [foursome partner Morgan Pressel] was hitting her second shot than me actually having to hit the tee shot," Korda told reporters about the unscheduled pit stop she made to blow breakfast between the first tee and green. "So I can’t explain what happened. I knew that the banana did not sit."
Korda and Pressel went on to score a 3 and 2 victory over Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, one of the few bright spots on a sun-splashed but disappointing morning for the Americans playing in their home red, white, and blue uniforms.
Korda recovered from her first-hole hiccup to stuff a wedge shot close and win a fast first point.
"After I got past the first hole," said Korda, who credited the veteran Pressel with calming her down, "I was pretty okay."
Which was more than one could say for the Americans, who fell into an early 3-1 hole after the morning foursome contests in which the Euros shut out the U.S. power duos of Lewis and Salas, Kerr and Paula Creamer, and Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford.
The home team enters Saturday’s matches trailing, 5-3.