Golf: Captains clash as Europe take 5-3 lead in Solheim Cup

ST LEON-ROT, Germany (Reuters) - Holders Europe led the United States 5-3 after Friday's rain-interrupted fourballs were completed at the 14th Solheim Cup on Saturday morning as both captains became involved in a heated exchange.

The two matches carried over from the day before were both halved with Melissa Reid and Carlota Ciganda ending all square with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, and Caroline Masson and Sandra Gal doing likewise with Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang.

Almost as soon as the delayed fourballs ended in the rain at a wet St Leon-Rot, European skipper Carin Koch and US counterpart Juli Inkster could be seen in a finger-wagging dispute surrounded by their assistant captains out on the course.

It appeared as though the exchange arose because Inkster was unhappy that one of Koch's vice-captains may have given direct advice to one of the European players at the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup.

Under the Solheim Cup rules only the captain can give direct advice to one of her team members.

Inkster tried to play down the disagreement when she spoke to the Golf Channel. "We just had a little discussion that was going on," she said. "It's no big deal, we're over it, it's locker-room (stuff). "I just wanted to invite them for Thanksgiving dinner and they declined," joked Inkster. "So I was upset about that."

There was a similar incident at the biennial team event in Colorado two years ago when it was alleged that assistant captain Annika Sorenstam had told one of the European caddies that a putt should be conceded to the Americans.

Rules officials were called on that occasion, no penalty was assessed and the competitors were told to play on. Former world No. 1 Sorenstam is one of Koch's vice-captains this week too and Inkster could be seen hugging the Swedish assistant after Saturday morning's altercation.