Calling all singles! US-Europe tied at Solheim

Being labeled as the underdogs - and reminded of it constantly in the days leading up to the 2009 Solheim Cup?

Could be.

Trying to become the first European team to win the Cup on American soil and doing it in front of huge, boisterous crowds at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove ?


A tear-jerking video message from a gravely ill Seve Ballesteros, which European captain Alison Nicholas kept quiet about before showing it to her team on the eve of the Cup?

"Absolutely," said Europe's Becky Brewerton. "I have to say, we were all pretty choked. At the end of the video we all knew what was coming; the music stopped and Seve said some pretty inspirational stuff.

"All the other videos we've seen, at the end, everyone's clapping and cheering in the room. Well, after Seve said that, we were all struggling to hold it back.

"It was unbelievable."

As was the play of the Europeans, who for the second straight day gave the Americans all they could handle en route to tying the chase for the Cup at 8-8 heading into today's singles matches,

"That was the secret that I didn't tell anyone," Nicholas said. "We had a video from him and some of the stuff he said ... just about hanging in there and thinking about him and thinking about fighting until the bitter end ... I'm just so proud of them at this moment - absolutely awesome."

Nicholas was beaming because a morning round of four ball that started with U.S. Michelle Wie and Christina Kim romping to a 5&4 victory over Helen Alfredsson and Tania Elosegui could have been disastrous for the Euros, but they showed their mettle and eventually battled back to win 21/2 points.

The good times kept rolling early on in the afternoon foursomes. At one point Europe grabbed 8-6 and had the Americans on the ropes.

But the U.S. displayed some mettle of its own in front of nearly 30,000 at RHF.

Morgan Pressel and Kristy McPherson outdueled Helen Alfredsson and Suzann Pettersen down the stretch, and Wie and Cristie Kerr won on the final hole under quickly darkening conditions to earn the U.S. an afternoon split.

"I'm just really proud of them for the way they came back," U.S. captain Beth Daniel said. "It was not looking too good for us for a while, and they really rallied in those last couple matches there in the afternoon to get the tie, and I think that was huge.

"It should be a huge momentum swing for us to come back that way."

The fact that the U.S. team has dominated singles play in the Solheim Cup should be all the motivation they need.

"I think that will help us tomorrow," Pressel said. "Every point is still important. You can't look at the leaderboard. You can't get too far ahead of yourself, and each one of us just has to go out there and beat our opponent to a pulp. That's our goal."

Nicholas is hoping her squad can provide one last day of inspirational play.

"Singles is always difficult," she said. "We haven't been that good over the years, but we have won singles series, and I think we've got nothing to lose.

"We've just got to go out there and play our hearts out and hopefully do a bit better than we have in the past."

It's all in the players' hands now.

"When I turn in my pairings," Daniel said, "my job is done."

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