The United States completed a sweep of the afternoon fourball matches to move into a dominant position over Europe in the Solheim Cup after the opening day’s play in Des Moines.

Catriona Matthew, a late addition to the team, had helped Europe get off to a strong start in the morning as they led 2 1/2 to 1 1/2 after the foursomes. But the pendulum swung sharply in the United States’ favour in the afternoon as they took a 5 1/2-2 1/2 lead.

It was a first ever fourball sweep for the Americans, who are looking to retain the cup after their victory in Germany two years ago.

“It wasn’t the afternoon we had wished for, but the players fought very hard,” European captain Annika Sorenstram said on the tournament website.

“I must say the US team played very well. They made a lot of birdies. They made a lot of putts. And we just didn’t have the same flow. So overall, just still feel pretty happy how we had the setup. And like I said, the girls fought to the end.”

Lizette Salas – who took the United States’ only full point in the morning alongside tournament debutant Danielle Kang – teamed up with another rookie, Angel Yin, for a convincing 6&5 win over Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson, while Kang partnered Michelle Wie in a 3&1 win over Madelene Sagstrom and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

Salas and Yin had set the tone, with Salas recording three straight birdies to take the first three holes, and they won on back-to-back par fives to end the contest in 13 holes.

Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang beat Masson and Florentyna Parker 3&2, while Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller beat Charley Hull and Georgia Hall 2&1.

That changed the mood considerably after Europe had made the better start on Friday morning.