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Rose Zhang trounced by LPGA fan favorite Leona Maguire as Team Europe takes Solheim Cup lead

Zhang started strong on Day 3 of the Solheim Cup, but silent assassin Leona Maguire put on a clinic to capture the first point of singles.

The Solheim Cup, Rose Zhang, Leona Maguire Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Team Europe scored the first point on Sunday at the Solheim Cup as Leona Maguire stormed past Rose Zhang to win 4 & 3.

Maguire put on a clinic and showed the rookie phenom what grit a player needs to score on singles day. The Irishwoman has become such a staple to this European team, and this victory illustrated what type of competitor the second-time Cup member is.

She has played in all five rounds in each of her two Solheim Cup appearances.

“Suzann made it very clear a couple of months ago that I would be playing five, and I think with the energy of this crowd and everything, I could have played 10,” Maguire said after her round Sunday.

She made five birdies and an eagle to secure the win though only 15 holes. Her eagle putt on the par-4 14th was an incredible moment in the match. Zhang was already in for birdie trying to mount a comeback, but Maguire drained a near 60-foot eagle putt to win the hole, essentially ending that hope.

Zhang started quickly for the third straight day, going up on the first hole. But that appeared to wake Maguire up, who then went nuclear.

The 28-year-old responded by winning the par-5 2nd and par-3 3rd holes to go 1UP.

The two players then went back and forth the next couple of holes, but Maguire was relentless.

“I think someone said Jessica Korda tweeted the other day that I was annoying at match play, and that was the goal this week was to be as annoying as possible.”

As the players hit the back nine, Maguire won four of the next five holes to be 4UP. Both players pared the par-4 15th, ending any hope for the 20-year-old American to come back.

Team Europe came storming back in this tournament Saturday after trailing 4-0 early. Their fourball play on both Friday and Saturday squared the match heading into singles.

That set the stage for this match being one of the marquis early groups to go out.

Fortunately for Zhang, her teammates picked her up as Megan Khang beat Linn Grant 1-UP, and Danielle Kang defeated Charley Hull 4 & 2 shortly after her match ended.

Team Europe’s Anna Nordqvist then beat Jennifer Kupcho 2 &1 to level the tournament once again, 10-10.

There are still eight matches left on the course. It’s tighter than ever as Team USA looks to end their losing streak and Team Europe looks to win their third straight Solheim Cup.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.