A player in tears four days before the Solheim Cup actually begins is never a good sign.

Stacy Lewis’s niggling back injury was always going to lead to a degree of uncertainty about her role in this week’s tussle and the sight of her succumbing to the aches and pains during a practice round on Monday was a downbeat start to the week for Juli Inkster and her USA team.

The experienced Lewis will step back into a vice-captaincy role and allow Ally McDonald, who had travelled to Perthshire as a precaution, to take her place in the 12-strong side.

“I’m glad we didn’t do this press conference yesterday (Monday) because I don’t think I could have gotten a word out,” said Lewis, having had 24 hours to digest the disappointing turn of events.

“I thought I’d give it a couple of days and it would get better. I know my back and I know my body really well. It’s not the first time I’ve had back issues.

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“I called Juli as I wanted Ally to be here as kind of peace of mind for the team and for everybody.

“I can’t go out there to just ‘try’ on Friday. It’s not fair to my team-mates. I don’t want to put Juli and the girls into a situation where they’ve got 11 (players) on Sunday, because Sunday is the most important day of this entire week.”

Inkster added: “It’s a hard decision. I picked Stacy because she’s one of our leaders and I really wanted her to play. But I feel like I really have the best of both worlds right now. I’ve got a healthy player and I have Stacy helping us out.”


The inclusion of McDonald means the USA side features six rookies. In the pondering and pontificating that goes on before a team event, the number of new recruits in a side always generates much concerned chin-stroking.

But what’s the big deal? Europe had six rookies in 2013 and won for the first time ever on US soil with a record-busting triumph.

Inkster, who made her own playing debut at Dalmahoy back in 1992, is not too worried. “They’re not really rookies,” she said of the talent at her disposal.

“They are veteran golfers. They are good, really good.”

With the main event still a couple of days away, it was the USA who struck an early blow in the Junior Solheim Cup as the visitors eased into a 7½-4½ lead after the opening series of foursomes and fourballs on the King’s course.

Scotland’s Hannah Darling, in partnership with Annabell Fuller, helped Europe earn a 3-3 share of the spoils in the morning as they beat the US pair of Sadie Englemann and Lucy Li by 4&3 in the foursomes.

But the US won the afternoon session 4½-1½ to move in front.