Solheim Cup: Fired-up United States reclaim trophy
The Solheim Cup is back in American hands after one of the most dramatic final days in the history of the competition.
The resumption of the Saturday fourballs provided the big talking point of the matches, as Suzann Pettersen claimed the hole after rookie Alison Lee thought she had been conceded a two-footer at the 17th.
Charley Hull, Pettersen’s partner, appeared to be heading for the 18th tee, happy with the putt, but the hole was then handed to the home side.
European skipper Carin Koch approached the match referee and the option was given to the Europeans to concede the 18th but, with Pettersen insisting she had not given the putt, they elected to continue.
At the time the match was all square and the Europeans went into the singles with a 10-6 advantage. Hull was reduced to tears, as was Lee, and captain Juli Inkster appeared to start chants of ’European suck’ before her team opted for ‘class, style, U-S-A.’
And it appeared to galvanise the visitors as they then turned it around in spectacular style, winning 8.5 of the 12 singles to sneak home 14.5-13.5. It meant they avoided an unprecedented third straight defeat.
Victories from Karine Icher, Mel Reid and Anna Nordqvist left Koch’s team needing just half a point from the remaining five matches, but none of those went beyond the 17th.
It all came down to Angela Stanford, who had lost her last nine matches, and Pettersen and then Sandra Gal and the out-of-form Paula Creamer. Stanford won at the 17th and Creamer completed a 4&3 victory.
“This is just amazing,” said Inkster. “I can’t describe the difference in my emotions of this morning to the emotions of this afternoon. My team played so damned good out there. They just never gave up. It was unbelievable.
“I just loved my line-up. I loved the way they stacked up. You know what, I was on them all week. You’ve got to play with heart. You’ve got to play with fire in your belly. Never give up. I saw a real team out there today. It didn’t look good early, but they hung in there. A lot of two downs got to evens and then to plus one.”
Koch was still positive despite the late turnaround. For two and a half days the cup seemed destined to stay in Europe but it wasn’t to be.
“There were a few putts that could have gone in that went the other way a few times today. But it was very exciting. It could have gone either way. We had a couple of chances to finish it off and win, and in the end it was their putts that win this. It’s great for women’s golf. And we really showcased how good these players are.”
“I can’t describe the difference in my emotions of this morning to the emotions of this afternoon” – Juli Inkster Singles
Ciganda halved with Thompson
Matthew lost to Pressel 2 up
Icher beat Lincicome 3&2
Reid beat Lang 2&1
Nocera lost to Lee 3&1
Masson lost to Piller one hole
Nordqvist beat Lewis 2&1
Munoz lost to Salas 3&1
Pettersen lost to Stanford 2&1
Hull lost to Kerr 3&2
Hedwall lost to Wie 6&4
Gal lost to Creamer 4&3
Europe 13.5 United States 14.5