Europe storm back to draw level in the Solheim Cup as Carlota Ciganda leads the remarkable hosts to 8-8 score with a thrilling day of singles in store in Malaga

  • Europe’s remarkable comeback to 8-8 was led by Carlota Ciganda
  • She was disqualified in a speed row two months ago, and things are going slowly again
  • But US captain Stacy Lewis insists they are in a ‘good place’ for the final day

In the land of the slow, the snail is queen. The beautiful drama of this Solheim Cup has played out at a torturous pace, so it is perhaps only right that Europe’s remarkable comeback to 8-8 was led by Carlota Ciganda.

It was a pretty amazing match, one that swung wildly in the Americans’ favor after one tough session, but is now tied with just Sunday’s singles to play. For the first time this week, the momentum is in Europe’s favor at Finca Cortesin.

And that is largely due to the brilliance of a Spaniard who, just two months ago, was disqualified from the Evian Championship in a row because of the speed of her game. On a course where laps last more than five and a half hours, Ciganda is spoken of in considerably friendlier terms, and rightly so.

After being benched in the whitewash of the opening foursome, the 33-year-old took three points from three, including one in the final four-ball match of the evening alongside Linn Grant. With their thrilling win of two against Danielle Kang and Lilia Vu, assisted by Ciganda’s clutch putt from 3 meters on the 16th, Europe won the session 3-1 and were level on points for the first time since Friday morning.

Ahead of Sunday’s singles, in which Europe needs six points from 12 to retain the trophy, and 6.5 to win outright for a third edition in a row, captain Suzann Pettersen said: “I’m out of words, but we must remember that we are not there. Now we put it in fifth gear and keep going.

Europe’s remarkable comeback to 8-8 in the Solheim Cup was led by Carlota Ciganda

Captain Suzann Pettersen praised Ciganda and Linn Grant for their role in leveling the scores

Captain Suzann Pettersen praised Ciganda and Linn Grant for their role in leveling the scores

‘This last match was unbelievable. The desire, the passion, the putts. It keeps happening every time. Linn was born for this, Carlota brings her A-game to Spain. Incredible.

“Look where it started and we’ve come a long way.”

Europe had started Saturday’s game 5-3 behind, with the opening foursomes ending 2-2, eased by Maja Stark and Grant’s victory over Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee in the final match. That created a positive mood after Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier, undefeated as a duo in the two previous editions of the Cup, suffered their second defeat in a row here, crushed 5&3 by Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz.

In the evening four-ball match, the US led 7-5, but were pulled back hard. Charley Hull and Leona Maguire crushed Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 4&3 and Madelene Sagstrom and Emily Pedersen defeated Rose Zhang and Andree Lee. American duo Angel Yin and Cheyenne Knight fought back from two down to beat Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall, including a momentum-shifting chip-in from Knight in the seventh, but Ciganda and Grant’s 2&1 victory has made for a fascinating final day. As always, the Solheim Cup delivers results.

U.S. Captain Stacy Lewis said, “We’re in a good place. We definitely wanted to get more points today, but we are in a good place. It came down to some good European shots.

“If you look at the scoreboard, the momentum is going to Europe. But the way the girls and I think about how we play, I like our momentum. In our team room we are very happy with how we played and the position we are in.

‘Sunday’s message is: don’t look at the rankings, just take your point.’

US captain Stacy Lewis insisted they were in a 'good place' going into action on Sunday

US captain Stacy Lewis insisted they were in a ‘good place’ going into action on Sunday