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Golf: Despite Nordqvist ace, US close gap on Europe

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Anna Nordqvist aced the 17th hole to give Europe another Solheim Cup point on Saturday, but the USA won two morning matches to narrow the gap in the Trans-Atlantic golf duel.

Nordqvist's hole-in-one on the par-three 17th at Colorado Golf Club -- thought to be the first in Solheim Cup history -- sealed a 2 and 1 foursomes victory for her and fellow Swede Caroline Hedwall over Americans Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda.

But the Americans won two of the morning's four matches and halved another leaving defending champions Europe ahead 6.5 to 5.5 going into the afternoon's four fourball matches.

Americans Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer defeated Spain's Azahara Munoz and France's Karine Icher 1 up in a sensational match that produced 12 birdies.

The Europeans enjoyed one stretch of five birdies in six holes, but botched the final hole as the United States grabbed the point with a birdie.

US captain Meg Mallon admitted the shifts in momentum in the match -- and the morning as a whole -- were nerve wracking as well as exhilarating.

"I'm standing on the 17th tee watching Anna Nordqvist's ball go in the hole, then to have us finish the matches the way we did was just a great turnaround for us," Mallon said. "The ebbs and flows today were unbelievable.

Captain's pick Michelle Wie made the winning putt on the 17th hole as she and Brittany Lang defeated Norway's Suzann Pettersen and Spain's Beatriz Recari 2 and 1.

Briton Catriona Matthew and German Caroline Masson trailed by two at the 16th hole but fought back to halve their match against Americans Brittany Lincicome and Lizette Salas.

Europe had taken a 5-3 lead into the second day, aided in part by a rules decision involving Spain's Carlotta Ciganda that officials later acknowledged was incorrect.

After hitting into a hazard and having to search for her ball, Ciganda was then involved in a lengthy consultation with several rules officials over where to take her drop.

She followed their instructions and salvaged par to halve the hole after a delay of almost half an hour that had US opponent Lewis fuming.

"It's hard to just stand there because we're not doing anything, and all of a sudden, you wait 25 minutes to hit a putt," Lewis said.

Ciganda and Pettersen went on to beat Lewis and Lexi Thompson in the fourball match 1 up, and that result stood even after officials admitted their mistake in the drop ruling.

"Ultimately, Ciganda proceeded to play according to the final ruling she was given and the result of the match does not change," the LPGA said in a statement.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130817/golf-despite-nordqvist-ace-us-close-gap-europe