Day 1 of the 2013 Solheim Cup didn't go to plan for USA's women.
Despite huge support at the Colorado Golf Club in Denver, the European contingent took an early lead. Liselotte Neumann's team grabbed a confident 5-3 advantage at the end of Day 1, and it doesn't surprise the European captain.
As reported by James Corrigan of The Daily Telegraph, the Swedish leader entered the day with one message: "We are here to make history."
Can the team continue their impressive run in order to do just that? Will home advantage prove pivotal for the Americans? Let's take a look at Day 2 and the USA's hunt for parity in this prestigious event.
Looking Ahead to Day 2
Before we crack on with the day's prospects, here's the morning foursomes who are preparing for battle:
|Morgan Pressel/Jessica Korda||vs.||Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwell||9:40 a.m ET|
|Stacy Lewis/Paula Creamer||vs.||Azahara Munoz/Karine Icher||9:52 a.m ET|
|Brittany Lincicome/Lizette Salas||vs.||Catriona Matthew/Caroline Masson||10:04 a.m ET|
|Michelle Wie/Brittany Lang||vs.||Suzann Pettersen/Beatriz Recari||10.16 a.m ET|
Despite the Day 1 losses, local fans will still be confident of an overall victory as their team possesses real strength across the board. A mouthwatering line-up sees World No. 3 Suzann Pettersen tackle Michelle Wie as the morning's last foursome, a clash that will hold huge significance going into the rest of the competition.
The American players cannot afford a repeat of Day 1's slow start. In losing three of the first four matches, Meg Mallon's team made their job more difficult with a rough beginning. Europe's players traditionally perform well in the foursomes format, suggesting the home side have their work cut out to restore if parity.
USA's most impressive performances of Day 1 came down to two players who could quite easily be missing from the team. Captain's pick Morgan Pressel and 20-year-old Jessica Korda performed admirably to overcome Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff 3 and 2.
As reported by James Corrigan of The Telegraph, Matthew feels personal mistakes helped the American duo to the USA's first win of the competition: "Jodi played well for her first match, but I hit a few terrible irons. But, never mind, we’re up 3-1 and that’s what counts."
The spirit of Pressel and Korda has a real chance of galvanising American hopes. There was an air of assurance to the pair's play, something that had certainly been missing from the USA team in Day 1's morning action. Although the Americans trail, the positive response to Korda's performance is something that could spread across the entire team. Heading into Day 2, this could be vital.
Neumann, as reported by ESPN's Mechelle Voepel, is aiming to ensure no American player appears in all five matches. The likes of Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford have already tasted two defeats from two encounters. With the former heading into morning action on Day 2, Mallon will be watching to see if her disappointing run continues.
Neumann's team must keep momentum going throughout August 17. This was always destined to be an uncomfortable competition for the Europeans—especially as the strong American support is expecting a win—but the visitors have successfully dampened high spirits. Parity can be restored quickly, so it's the early matches that hold huge significance.
Defeats for the Americas in the two opening foursome would absolutely limit momentum gained from winning the last two matches on Day 1. Although finely-balanced, it is the ability of emerging stars such as Pressel and Korda that has the ability to define USA's entire showing.