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Drama, fireworks expected as Solheim Cup opens


Few players at this year’s Solheim Cup are better friends than Stark and Grant.

TEAM Europe, here posing right after its 2021 victory in Ohio, will have its hands full in trying to repeat over Team USA this time in the Solheim Cup. | GREGORY SHAMUS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ANDALUCIA, Spain — The 2023 Solheim Cup officially begins Friday, 22 September, with the long-awaited Friday foursome matchups.

Both 12-player teams full of LPGA Tour superstars and Solheim Cup stalwarts, the biennial meet will kick off at the Finca Cortesin here.

Friday morning will see Americans Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang facing off with Team Europe’s Kinn Grant and Maka Stark — both from Sweden.

Thompson is the most experienced of the US team, having played in five Solheim Cups before this week in Spain. She has a 6-6-7 record in the biennial team competition, earning 9.5 total points for the Americans in her Solheim Cup career.

Captain Stacy Lewis lauded the form that Thompson has shown this week in Spain in the press conference announcing the matches and considering that she has earned 3.5 total points in the foursomes format, this seems to be a great call by Lewis if she wants to get her team on the board early.

Khang is making her third Solheim Cup appearance, having played in both the 2019 and 2021 editions of the event, and has a 1-3-2 record, something she’s looking to improve upon in Spain.

Other equally exciting foursomes pit Nelly Korda/Allisen Corpuz against Leona Maguire/Anna Nordqvist; Danielle Kang/Andrea Lee against Celine Boutier/Georgia Hall; and Ally Ewing/Cheyenne Knight against Charley Hull/Emily Kristine Pederse.

The 25-year-old Khang has played in three foursomes matches in the Solheim Cup, only managing to earn a half point for the Americans in those previous instances, and is a bit shorter off the tee, ranking 82nd in average driving distance (257.59 yards) compared to Thompson who is tied for 14th at 269.12 yards.

But she has plenty of upside when you look at her approach game — Khang ranks fourth in stroked gained approach (+1.03) on the LPGA Tour — and her upbeat personality and can-do-it attitude that blended with Thompson’s ferocity and competitiveness should make for a winning combination.

Few players at this year’s Solheim Cup are better friends than Stark and Grant. After each earned a place on their first European Solheim Cup team, Captain Suzann Pettersen said the pair started badgering her to play together.

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