An emotional Madelene Sagstrom questions the decision to award the eagle at the par-five 13th to Team USA and reflects on how the incident affected her over the remainder of the fourballs match
Madelene Sagstrom was unhappy with the controversial ruling which marred the afternoon fourballs at the Solheim Cup.
The 28-year-old Swede was paired with rookie Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark against American duo Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing and the scores were level when the incident occurred at the 13th hole.
Korda’s eagle putt stopped on the edge of the hole, but her ball was swiftly picked up by Sagstrom, conceding a birdie.
However, Sagstrom was deemed to have not waited long enough and Korda was credited with an eagle to win the hole and move one up.
Sagstrom picked up Nelly Korda’s eagle putt before waiting the full 10 seconds to see if it would fall into the hole
Under Rule 13.3, if any part of the ball is overhanging the lip the player is allowed a “reasonable time” to reach the hole and then 10 seconds to see if the ball would drop.
Sagstrom, Madsen and European captain Catriona Matthew argued that the ball was not going to drop in, but the ruling of the on-course official was confirmed.
The American duo then retained their lead as the final five holes were halved to win 1up, one of two American victories in the afternoon as Europe took a 5.5-2.5 advantage into Sunday.
An emotional Sagstrom said: “Obviously I wasn’t following the rules about leaving the ball for 10 seconds, but I do believe in integrity and honour of the game of golf, and I would never pick up a putt that had a chance to go in.
“I personally don’t agree with the decision with the ball being on the edge, but I didn’t follow the 10-second rule, so it sucks right now because I feel like I let my team down.
“It’s hard because we’re on American soil. It’s tough, we’re giving our all out there. We’re fighting so hard. It’s just sad that the game is going to be on that position really. We put up a strong fight. We played great, both of us. It’s tough out there.
“It made me frustrated, angry, sad. I was just trying to keep my composure and trying to be there for Nanna. She was very encouraging and walking with me, so it was tough. It’s not the first time and the last time those things are going to happen out here, unfortunately, but I was just trying to get into a groove and hit good golf shots again.
“I did hit a few really good golf shots, so I’m happy that I did that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pull a halve out at the last, but we fought hard for it. Nanna was a really good supporter. I was supposed to be there for her today being a rookie and she was there for me. We had a good team today.
“I’m happy all the girls are doing good, so I’m just going to go back, regroup, and get ready for tomorrow.”
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Madsen said spectators were “yelling terrible stuff” at Sagstrom in the wake of the incident.
“It was just not fun for Madelene to be in that position,” she said. “I think she felt bad, and she really shouldn’t. Golf shouldn’t go down to a putt that would never have gone in. She didn’t do anything.”
World No 1 Korda and Ewing insisted they had not had a say in the ruling.
Korda and Ally Ewing give their verdict on their narrow fourballs win and the contentious rules incident at the par-five 13th
“It was definitely awkward, and you don’t want to win a hole like that,” Korda said. “I got off the green, and we kind of were talking, and (rules official) Missy (Jones) already came up to us and was like, I’m calling it in, I want to check it out. We didn’t even have a say honestly.
“We told ourselves we needed to focus on golf, take it one shot at a time, and see if we can finish it off.
“Hopefully they’re okay with us. We didn’t want it to happen this way. It’s very unfortunate, but they played solid golf, we also played solid golf. At the end of the day hopefully, we can put this behind each other and move forward.”
Ewing added: “In the end, that was up to the rules committee, and I think they handled it the best that they could, and, like she said, nobody wants to win the hole like that.”
Fourballs drawn as Europe lead 5.5-2.5
The United States claimed their second victory when Lizette Salas holed a birdie putt at the last to secure a 1up win for herself and Jennifer Kupcho against Carlota Ciganda and Sophia Popov.
“I knew what I had to do, and I just said, I’m ready for this moment. To get that red point up on the board for our team on home soil, my legs are still shaking,” said Salas.
“Jennifer was just rock-solid all day, and just kept me in it. I think we worked well together, and it was a team effort to get the job done today.”
Popov said: “I think we actually played really well. I think ball-striking wise both of us had a very good day. I think we made quite a few putts, but we didn’t make the key putts in the key moments. Kudos to them, they played really well and they made those putts when it was necessary.
“Finishing up with a birdie on a not very easy pin position was extremely good for Lizette, and yeah, it’s unfortunate because I felt like we deserved the win today, but it is what it is. That’s how match play goes.”
Europe retained their three-point cushion, though, as Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren stormed to their second victory of the day, beating Lexi Thompson and Mina Harigae 4&3.
Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren reflect on beating Lexi Thompson and Mina Harigae 4&3 to secure their second win of the day for Team Europe
Nordqvist said: “I’m excited. It’s been a great day for the both of us, and I really enjoyed playing with Matilda. She played great all day, and I think we’re just happy to see some blue on the board.
“They’re tough competitors, but I feel like we played great in the best ball and complemented each other pretty well.”
Castren added: “Getting two points is more than I could ask for, and playing with Anna was great. We had so much fun today. We both played great.”
Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire, the latter also winning her second match of the day, then teamed up in the final fourball to edge out Yealimi Noh and Brittany Altomare 1up.
Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire discuss continuing their unbeaten starts to the Solheim Cup with a narrow victory over Brittany Altomare and Yealimi Noh
Hall said: “It was good fun. I think we played better back nine and managed to hit some good shots in, so obviously very pleased just to get a point.
“I secretly wanted to get Leona for this afternoon. She’s a very smart golfer and a very good one. I think we’re quite similar, so I was very happy to be paired with her.”
Maguire added: “Obviously delighted to get two points on the board but had two great partners today. Georgia played amazing. She hit some really, really key shots when we needed it the most. That birdie she made on 15 was huge for the momentum going into those last few holes.
“I was just cheerleading out there this afternoon for her.”
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