(Reuters) – Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson teed off in the first singles pairing on the final day of the 17th Solheim Cup at the Inverness Club in Ohio on Monday, with Europe leading 9-7 and needing five more points to retain the trophy.

The Americans narrowed the gap over Team Europe on Sunday, winning three of their foursomes matches in the morning session before late heroics from Mel Reid in the final four-ball match helped the visitors take a two-point lead into the final day.

This is the ninth time that Europe have held the lead heading into the singles, going on to lift the cup four times. A victory on Monday will give them only their second Solheim Cup win on American soil, eight years on from their first.

The Americans lead the overall series 10-6.

The battle between Nordqvist and Thompson is a rematch of their memorable encounter from four years ago, which was tied but went down as among the finest singles matches the event has thrown up in recent years.

The third pairing is a rookie showdown between Leona Maguire and Jennifer Kupcho, with Maguire yet to lose this week. “You never know how you’re going to react in these situations until you’re put in them… this is what you prepare for. I love team golf,” said the Irishwoman after the second day’s play.

World number one Nelly Korda, who had a forgettable morning on Sunday and sat out the afternoon session, takes on England’s Georgia Hall, who finished tied for second at the Women’s British Open at Carnoustie last month.

Large crowds are expected on the final day, which is the Labor Day holiday in the United States.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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