- American veteran Lexi Thompson has missed the cut five times in past six starts
- World No 2 Lilia Vu will sit out the Friday morning foursomes at the Solheim Cup
- Europe chasing chase a historic third consecutive victory against United States
US captain Stacy Lewis has taken an opening-session gamble at the Solheim Cup by leaving out her top-ranked player and placing the first tee shot in the hands of a golfer in the most questionable form.
With the Friday morning foursomes pairings announced on Thursday evening, the most glaring omission on either side in Andalucia was that of Lilia Vu, the world No 2, albeit with the assurance all 12 of the Americans will have featured against Europe by the close of play on day one.
While she sits out, the opening drive will be struck by American veteran Lexi Thompson, who has missed the cut five times in her past six starts.
That show of faith means Thompson and Megan Khang will be first out against the European duo of Linn Grant and Maja Stark. Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee face Celine Boutier and Hall in game two, while Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz take on Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist. In the final group of the morning session, Lewis has pitted Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight against Charley Hull and Emily Pederson.
European captain Suzann Pettersen revealed she has known her pairings since Monday, but Lewis indicated she has been swayed late on by Thompson’s form during the week at Finca Cortesin.
American veteran Lexi Thompson has missed the cut five times in her past six starts
World No 2 Lilia Vu will sit out the Friday morning foursomes at the Solheim Cup
Lewis said: ‘I will tell you Lexi has looked unbelievable this week. I think she’s got the most experience on our team, and I wanted her to go out there and have that first tee shot. I think she’s earned it.
‘We started the week and I had a couple people within our team come up to me and just say she’s hitting it really good. With the data and the analytics that we have, I actually have their strokes gained from the practice over the last two days and she’s off the charts right now.
‘She’s been working really hard the last two months, and I think it was just a matter of time, but the driver has looked great. The ball striking looks better than it has in a long time.’
In explaining the decision to save Vu until the afternoon fourballs, Lewis said: ‘I don’t see anybody playing all five sessions. So they all needed some rest at some point and just wanted to give her the morning to just kind of regroup and get herself together.
‘She somewhat asked for it a little bit, somewhat didn’t. It was kind of my idea. So, yeah, I mean, you’re going to see her a lot, other than that first session. You don’t win two majors and sit on the sideline for very long.’
With Europe chasing a record third-straight Cup win, Pettersen said: ‘I don’t really have to tell the players what we’re up for. I think the players are really on it. I think it’s always great to have a possible dream to chase. That’s great. But there is so much golf to be played from where we sit here today to the end of Sunday.
‘We’ll see how every session goes and we’ll try and adjust from there. But like I said, the Solheim Cup usually comes down to putts here or shots there. It’s amazing how it all literally comes down to certain moments with so much golf that’s played. I’ve just told the players to kind of go on with their own business and we’ll see where that leads coming Sunday.’