According to certain reports in the build up to this weekend’s Solheim Cup, officials at Gleneagles were going to adopt a robust, “zero tolerance” approach to slow play.

While referees careering around on buggies flogging the plodders with the cat o’ nine tails was never going to happen, the push to get the game at the top level moving seemed to be gathering momentum.

It didn’t yesterday, though, as the opening exchanges over the PGA Centenary course were blighted by the long-standing pace of play issue.

Lizette Salas was given a warning for her ponderous approach but that irked the US skipper Juli Inkster while her European counterpart, Catriona Matthew, took a veiled dig at the officials for not enforcing any slow play policies.

Glasgow Times:

“Some of the players on both sides do take quite a while to hit a shot,” conceded Matthew. “But it’s the officials really, they are the ones who police the pace of play. So it’s up to them. No one wants to see slow play. Ideally it would be nice to be faster.”

Inkster, meanwhile, felt Salas was hard done by on a day when the American player was far from the only one plodding along.

“It’s painfully slow out there,” said Inkster. “You look at this golf course, it’s tough. The wind’s blowing. The greens are firm. The ball’s not going anywhere. It’s cold.

“I think Lizette had a bad time but she was not the only player that had a bad time out there. It’s not fair, because the other players know how to play the game.

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“So my players are playing at their pace. And then when they say we’re timing them, they speed up. So until we change the rule, they’re going to keep doing it. And they know who they are.”

In the lengthening shadows of an increasingly cold Perthshire evening, the final hour or so of play became thoroughly enthralling as the 18th green became the scene of much whooping and hollering.

Most of it was coming from those in stars and stripes as the US got two half points from the last two matches.

Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda had been two up with four to play against the spirited European duo of Bronte Law and Carlota Ciganda.

As the match turned on its head, though, Thompson had to hole a curling putt on the 18th just to salvage a half but it was gratefully received.

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So too was Brittany Altomare’s birdie putt on the last which earned another half against Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz. The Americans had been three down with three to play.

“Those two half points at the end were huge,” said Inkster. “We just had to keep the Europeans in sight. We didn’t want to get too far down.”

Matthew said she would have “taken this lead” at the start but added: “It was disappointing there on the 18th, but it’s not as if we threw those holes away. The Americans made good birdies.”

Nick Rodger