Angel Yin, Ally McDonald keep USA's dreams intact at Solheim Cup

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GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Most golfers will freely admit they don't sleep well the night before they play a Solheim Cup.

Angel Yin is not most golfers.

She slept in, took her time getting up and then casually claimed a record-equalling 7-and-5 victory in the afternoon four-balls, she and rookie Ally McDonald earning America's only full point of the session.

It was a vital contribution for the visitors, who ended the day trailing 4.5-3.5, and yet the 20-year-old could not possibly have guessed how important it would be when she finally wiped the sleep from her eyes mid-morning.

Hang on, mid-morning?!

"Yeah, I mostly slept until 10:30," she said with a laugh after the win. "Actually, 10:38, to be exact. Until then, I was dreaming. Juli (Inkster, her captain) knows I like my sleep, she really knows me best. She was, like, 'Sit it out.' I was like, 'OK, yeah, I understand.' Whatever she says, I'll be, 'Yes, ma'am.'

"So I woke up, I got to the course, and I saw a lot of red. It motivated me. I was really excited to go out and get a point for Team USA."

Shortly after her arrival, the projected score in the opening series of matches was 2.5-1.5 in favor of the visitors, but a high noon rally from the Europeans flipped the score in reality.

When Yin and McDonald emerged on to the first tee in the second match of better ball, they needed to make a statement. The Europeans in the first match had already gone 1-up. The board was worryingly blue.

Yin provided the statement: She stuck her approach to 6 feet and drained it. McDonald then took hold of the baton at the second, her 12-foot birdie look disappearing down the hole.

She returned the baton to Yin, who converted from 5 feet at the third for a hat trick of par-breakers. Their opponents, Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall, who had won three of their four previous matches in the Cup, had no answer and fell 3 down.

Through 11 holes the Americans would make seven birdies to stretch the lead to 7 up.

A European birdie at the 12th prevented them being handed a record-breaking defeat, but they then failed to make par at the next and it was game over.

"We're ham and eggs," Yin said.

Added McDonald: "We kind of fed off each other."

Their metaphors might have been mixed, but their golf had been pure and it was perfectly synchronized.

"We've always got each other's back no matter what," Yin said. "It's all about communication and chemistry. All it takes is a nod. There was no birdie blitz from either of us. Instead it was me first and then Ally, then me again, then Ally."

For McDonald, this was the perfect start to a Friday that might have been so different. After failing to qualify for the team, she was not handed a captain's pick, but she wasted no time accepting Inkster's consolation prize.

"Telling Ally she hadn't made the team was hard because I felt she deserved to be there," Inkster said after an exhausting opening day of blustery wind and cold temperatures. "I asked her right then, 'I need an alternate, would you be willing to go?' and she didn't hesitate in saying yes.

"Then I called her and said Stacy (Lewis) was having (back) problems. I told her we needed her and she said she'd be there. She just slid right in."

"To go out in my first match and get a point for the U.S. means a lot," McDonald said. "It's something I'll remember forever. I kept everything, all the emotions, at bay during prep, but the opening ceremony got me pretty fired up."

"It's all about communication and chemistry. All it takes is a nod. There was no birdie blitz from either of us. Instead it was me first and then Ally, then me again, then Ally." Angel Yin

Shortly afterward, Europe's Anne Van Dam and Suzann Pettersen completed a 4-and-2 victory over Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas.

Attention turned to the final two matches on the course, both of which saw the European pairings head up the 18th hole leading by one hole and both of which witnessed winning birdies for the Americans.

Nelly Korda and Brittany Altomare won the final three holes to halve with Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz; Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson shared a point with Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law.

What could have been a three-point deficit had those two matches been lost was suddenly a gap of just one, and Inkster knew the value of the afternoon's sole full point.

"A huge point," she said. "Just a really huge point by my rookie and my second-time player.

"We've just got to keep in Europe's rear-view mirror. It's not insurmountable. You've gotta keep gnawing for a half point here and a half point there. You look at the golf today and we're only a point down. I'm very pleased with where we're at right now."

Only one question remained: Will Yin be allowed another lie-in?

The answer is yes.

McDonald will join forces with Lizette Salas in the morning foursomes, but Inkster isn't changing her plan for Yin, whose dreams will be uninterrupted.