Setback In Spain

Birdies in short supply as Jennifer Kupcho and Lilia Vu fall in foursomes at Solheim Cup; it’s Kupcho’s first loss ever in a partner session at the event

By Gary Baines – 9/23/2023

Three years ago, a few months after the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S., Jennifer Kupcho and Carlota Ciganda squared off in the Inspirato Colorado Women’s Open, where the Colorado native out-dueled the Spaniard and earned her first title as a pro.

On Saturday, the two teed it up together again, but this time with Ciganda on her home soil — and in a partner format — at the Solheim Cup in Andalucia, Spain.

And just as Kupcho won in the Centennial State against Ciganda in 2020 at the CWO, the Spaniard prevailed on her home turf at the Solheim Cup. Ciganda teamed with Emily Pedersen to defeat Kupcho and Lilia Vu, giving the Europeans a 2-and-1 victory in foursomes/alternate shot.

Kupcho, who struggled considerably with her putter, and Vu didn’t make their first birdie of the match until No. 14 — by which time they’d recorded four bogeys. And even though they won 15 with another birdie as Vu hit her approach to 6 inches, it wasn’t enough. They lost the next hole as Vu drove it in a fairway bunker and Kupcho had to pitch out on the par-4.

The Europeans closed things out with a tying par on No. 17.

The Americans never led in the match and hurt their cause considerably on No. 13, where they three-putted for bogey, losing the hole to a European team that was in a greenside bunker. Kupcho ran her 25-foot birdie try 5 feet by the cup and Vu missed the comebacker.

The defeat was a setback for a pairing of two American players who have won a combined three major championships since the beginning of 2022.

Kupcho’s putter didn’t cooperate on day 2 of the Solheim Cup.

The loss — Kupcho’s first in a partner format at the Solheim Cup (2-1-2) — dropped her to 2-2-2 overall in two appearances in the event. The three-time LPGA winner wasn’t in the U.S. lineup for the Saturday afternoon four-ball session. She’ll return for Sunday’s singles matches, which will conclude this Solheim Cup. Golf Channel will carry the action from 3-9 a.m. (MT) on Sunday.

In the singles, Kupcho will face veteran Anna Nordqvist of Sweden. The match will begin at 3:46 a.m. (MT). Nordqvist, competing in her eighth Solheim Cup, has won nine times on the LPGA Tour, including three majors.

Going into the final day, the U.S. and Europe are knotted at 8-8 overall.  Europe is looking to win the Solheim Cup for the third straight time.

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About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates