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Europe puts heat on U.S.

©Associated Press
September 22, 2002

EDINA, Minn. -- While America's best players were standing on the sideline, Europe's stars were out on the course playing.

And winning.

Led by Carin Koch and Annika Sorenstam, Europe swept the four afternoon best-ball matches Saturday to take a 9-7 lead after Day 2 of the Solheim Cup.

"I was quite happy with some of the people we sent out there," European captain Dale Reid said.

The Americans couldn't say the same. Over a blustery afternoon at Interlachen Country Club, they lost the 7-5 lead they gained after winning three of four morning matches.

Captain Patty Sheehan chose to rest Juli Inkster, Laura Diaz and Meg Mallon for the afternoon matches. Inkster and Diaz are the top Americans on the LPGA Tour this year, and Mallon is one of the most seasoned veterans on the roster.

Among those playing in the afternoon was Beth Daniel, who on Friday was pulled from the American lineup because she had the flu.

"Who's to know what would have happened in the afternoon" had the lineup been different, Sheehan said. "I'm glad I sat them down. They were tired, and they needed rest."

Koch and Sorenstam, meanwhile, just kept on ticking.

They defeated Cristie Kerr and Michele Redman 4 and 3 in the morning alternate-shot match and beat Daniel and Wendy Ward by the same score in the afternoon match.

Koch joined Dottie Pepper as the only player in Solheim Cup history to go 4-0 in one year. The 31-year-old Swede, who has one LPGA Tour victory in her career, is 7-0 in the Solheim Cup.

"It's just a little more exciting here with all the people," Koch said. "Plus, in match play, you can take more chances, go for everything. Being aggressive is good for my game."

After their amazing afternoon, the defending champion Europeans need five wins in the 12 singles matches today to score 14 points and keep the cup.

The Americans need 14 1/2 points to avoid losing the women's version of the Ryder Cup on their own soil for the first time.

"I had to quiet them down a bit, because nothing's over yet," Reid said.

Koch closed out the Americans in 2000 with a 10-foot putt in her singles match. She once again is looking forward to the pressure of the final day. She faces Daniel in the second-to-last singles match today.

"When I'm in a pressure situation, I remind myself that (that match) was the most pressure I've ever had, and I did fine," Koch said. "It's nice for tomorrow. Maybe the player I play against knows that, too."

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