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Europe takes big lead in Solheim Cup

From left, Anna Nordqvist, Catriona Matthew, husband Graeme Matthew and Suzann Pettersen celebrate as Carlota Ciganda wins her match for Europe on the 18th hole.

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From left, Anna Nordqvist, Catriona Matthew, husband Graeme Matthew and Suzann Pettersen celebrate as Carlota Ciganda wins her match for Europe on the 18th hole.

PARKER, Colo. — Karine Icher put an emphatic end to a stunning shutout that put Europe on the verge of its first Solheim Cup win in America.

Icher rolled in a 45-foot birdie from just off the back of the 18th green Saturday afternoon as she and Beatriz Recari beat Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel 1-up, giving Europe its first sweep of a Solheim Cup session in 11 years.

By winning all four fourball matches in the afternoon, Europe led 101/2-51/2, matching the largest lead in event history. Europe needed to win only three of today's 12 individual matches and halve another for its first road victory since the Ryder Cup-style event began in 1990.

A win also would be the first time Europe retained the Cup in the biennial event.

Also in the final match, a long delay for a ruling happened for the second day in a row. Recari and Kerr went into a hazard on No. 16, and neither player could agree where it entered. After 31 minutes, both took their drops.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome teamed with Lizette Salas to halve a morning foursome match against Catriona Matthew and Caroline Masson. Lincicome missed a short putt on No. 17 that would have clinched a win. "I feel like I was not putting good," Lincicome said. "We had so many chances, and Lizette played so good (Saturday), and just a couple of 5-footers that needed to go in just didn't."

The American team won 21/2 points in the morning, but it fell apart from there.

Icher's putt was the final blow on a day full of them for the Americans. Anna Nordqvist closed a foursome match with an ace on No .17. And in the afternoon, two rookies from England stood tall.

Charley Hull, at 17 the youngest player in event history, and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff won the final two holes to beat Lexi Thompson and Paula Creamer 2-up.

Caroline Hedwall, the only player to go all four matches over the first two days, teamed with Masson to beat Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda. Spaniards Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz beat Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller, leaving the American duo winless.

No team has rallied from more than two points behind to win the Solheim Cup.

"Obviously, it was a very disappointing afternoon," U.S. captain Meg Mallon said. "We have our work cut out for us (today). It can be done."

PGA: John Huh refused to let tough conditions and a terrible hole get him down. He was rewarded with a share of the lead at the Wyndham Championship.

The 2012 rookie of the year shot par 70 and joined Patrick Reed atop the field after a soggy third round in Greensboro, N.C. Huh and Reed, the second-round leader who shot 71, were at 10-under 200.

Huh had triple bogey on his second hole, then made up for it with three birdies in four holes on the back nine.

"Since the rain picked it up this morning, it wasn't easy for us to play out there, but I told myself, 'Be patient, stay dry and keep grinding out there,' " Huh said.

Zach Johnson (66) had the day's best round and was one stroke back along with Bob Estes (68) and John Deere (70).

Charles Howell III was disqualified before the round for using a nonconforming driver, a day after the weight port cover on his driver came off before his second round.

Champions: Tour rookie Brad Bryant, with a tight wrap covering his troublesome left wrist, shot 10-under 62 to take a four-shot lead over Corey Pavin (64) after two rounds at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y. Bryant is rounding back into form after two wrist surgeries kept him from the game for three years. He had six birdies in his first seven holes to finish at 16-under 128, a 36-hole tournament record.

U.S. Amateur: Matt Fitzpatrick, seeking to be the first Englishman to win this event since Harold Hilton in 1911, birdied No. 17 to defeat Corey Conners 2 and 1 in the semifinals in Brookline, Mass. Fitzpatrick meets Oliver Goss, who beat fellow Australian Brady Watt 2-up, in today's 36-hole final.

Europe takes big lead in Solheim Cup 08/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, August 18, 2013 1:05am]

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