It is all about momentum and the pendulum swung firmly towards Europe as the visitors began the quest for a first Solheim Cup win on United States soil with a 3-1 lead in the first session of foursomes in Colorado. Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff suffered the only defeat, going down by 3&2 to Morgan Pressel and rookie Jessica Korda, the daughter of former Australian Open tennis Champion, Petr Korda.
Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall - dubbed the Swedish Vikings by Liselotte Neumann, the European captain - seemed to be in marauding mood in the top match, inflicting a 4&2 defeat on Stacy Lewis and rookie Lizette Salas. In the second match, the reliable Suzann Pettersen and Beatriz Recari, an impressive rookie, eagled the long 16th before going on to seal a 2&1 triumph over Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford.
The biggest shock of the day, though, was the 2&1 victory in the bottom match for Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher over Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. The US pair are a tried and tested partnership - they arrived in Denver undefeated in three Solheim foursomes appearances - but they were unable to cope with the attack by Europe around the turn.
"They made bombers at eight, nine and 10 and it was unfortunate," said Kerr. "We just didn't seem to get any momentum right off the bat. I just couldn't seem to get any of them to drop and then missed a couple greens, and we really didn't get the momentum until our last couple holes and then it's too late. So you've got to get a good start in foursomes."
For Munoz, who formed a great foursomes partnership with Matthew as Europe won at Killeen Castle in Ireland two years ago, and Icher it was a huge point, although Matthew and English rookie Ewart-Shadoff could not quite find top gear.
The former set the tone. The US drove into trees but ended up winning the hole when the Europeans three-putted for bogey. At the short second, Matthew made a great 10-foot putt for a 3½ in par to steady the ship and then a US three-putt at the fourth let the European pair draw level.
Before battle commenced, everyone had regarded form on the greens as the key and when Matthew and Ewart-Shadoff took three putts at he seventh they fell behind again, before a bunkered second shot at the ninth by the Scot put them two down at the turn. The tall, blonde Korda grew in stature as the match went on and a birdie at the 13th put the American pair three up and they went on to post a 3&2 win and finally get some red on the board.
"I feel like we both played really solidly," said Pressel. "We made a lot of pars. Alternate shot is a tough format and it's a tough golf course. Catriona and Jodi did not play their best but we were able to capitalise on that and have some par saves and make some five-footers. Jessica made a clutch-putt to win the match. That's my partner."
Laura Davies, missing for Europe for the first time in the event's history, is still here as a TV commentator and the English player admitted that even she was surprised by the result of the Icher and Munoz match. "The last pairing was a surprise to me but Liselotte must have seen something and they have worked out great together," said the former world No.1. "That is great for the Europeans."
Davies also had a slant on the surprisingly poor form shown by Lewis, a player who was outstanding as she won the Ricoh Women's British Open at St Andrews just two weeks ago. Two years ago, the Texan won only one point out of four in Ireland and yesterday she was again out of sorts. Yet Lewis is known to have prepared meticulously, visiting Colorado on five or six occasions prior to the contest.
"But some people don't seem to play so well in team situations," acknowledged Davies. "It is the same with Tiger Woods in the Ryder Cup."