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StarBulletin.com

Wie keeps U.S. in it


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POSTED: Sunday, August 23, 2009

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. » Cristie Kerr nearly took the head off of a fake swan, and Michelle Wie overshot the green. And they still managed to halve the hole.

Kerr and Wie overcame two ragged final holes to salvage a 1-up foursome win at the Solheim Cup yesterday afternoon, keeping the Americans tied 8-8 with Europe going into today's all-important singles matches. The way the Americans have played in singles, that's almost like having the lead.

“;I'm just really proud of them the way they came back. It was not looking too good for us for a while,”; U.S. captain Beth Daniel said. “;They really rallied in the afternoon, that was huge. Also, it should be a huge momentum swing for us to come back that way. They feel like they're ahead, and they should feel that way.”;

               

     

 

WIE LEADS THE WAY

        Michelle Wie tops U.S. players in points earned during this weekend's Solheim Cup. The Honolulu teen tees off at 5:25 a.m. today in her singles match against Helen Alfredsson.
       

 

       

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Player (W-L)Pts.
Michelle Wie (2-0-1)2 1/2
Paula Creamer (2-1-0)2
Cristie Kerr (2-1-0)2
Christina Kim (2-1-0)2
Brittany Lang (1-0-1)1 1/2
Morgan Pressel (1-0-1)1 1/2
Natalie Gulbis (1-1-0)1
Juli Inkster (1-2-0)1
Brittany Lincicome (1-2-0)1
Kristy McPherson (1-2-0)1
Angela Stanford (0-2-1)1/2
Nicole Castrale (0-2-0)0

       

 

       

       

Especially considering their history in singles. The United States has a .602 winning percentage in singles over the course of the tournament.

The Americans need 14 points to win a third straight Solheim Cup, while Europe needs 14 1/2 points to claim it on U.S. soil for the first time.

Wie and Christina Kim's easy 5-and-4 victory over Helen Alfredsson and Tania Elosegui in the opening fourball match looked as if it might be the start of a big day for the Americans.

But Europe rallied to win the fourballs and tie up the tournament, then took an early lead in foursomes with two easy wins. And just when it looked as if Wie and Kerr had the tie in hand, everybody came unglued, though Wie and Kerr held on.

Despite the scrappy end, Wie was clearly the American who carried the day.

Expectations for the big-hitting Hawaii native have been huge since she was in grade school, but injuries and other missteps have cost her. At 19, she's still looking for her first LPGA Tour win.

But Wie showed yesterday just how formidable she can be. She put an approach shot from 149 yards within 18 inches on the No. 6 in her fourball match with Christina Kim, starting a four-hole run for the Americans. She didn't flinch when she needed to make big shots with Kerr.

Perhaps most impressive was how animated she was. Oh, she's given fist pumps before, even yelled a few times. But this was Michelle Unplugged. She sprinted along the side of the green after making a nice chip. She played to the crowd, waving her arms and cupping her hand to her ear to urge them to cheer louder. She and Kim even had a special handshake.

“;She was so pumped up, I was worried about it,”; Daniel said.

She needn't have been.

Her teammates have said all week that one of the best things about the Solheim Cup has been getting to know Wie, and that the public would know the real her by the time it was all over, too.

“;We just had a ball out there,”; Wie said. “;It was just fun.”;