Stunning, dramatic and, finally, a day of celebration for the European team at The Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Ireland.
Following rain delays, lightning threats and the shock withdrawal of Cristie Kerr due to injury before the start of her match, Europe finally regained the Solheim Cup in thrilling fashion with the narrowest of 15-13 victories over the USA.
It all came down to the last three singles matches and a dramatic final half hour. The scoreboard was favouring the USA, but the pendulum swung firmly in Europe’s favour.
Azahara Munoz had the honour of clinching the vital point in the final match with a one hole win over Angela Stanford.
In the second last singles, Caroline Hedwall, two down two to play against Ryann O’Toole, won the last two holes for a vital half point.
Suzann Pettersen had started the great fightback. One down with three to play against Michelle Wie, she pulled out a final-hole win.
The world No.2 birdied the final three holes, holing from eight feet at the last. It was a first ever Solheim singles win for the 30-year-old Norwegian, and the perfect time to achieve it.
For Alison Nicholas’s European team the 7-5 singles score meant it was a fourth win from 12 contests, and they will go to Colorado Golf Club in two years’ time hoping to win in the USA for a first time.
|Alison Nicholas runs to 18 as Europe wins
Tied 8-all overnight, Europe received an early free point when Cristie Kerr was forced to withdraw from the final singles against Karen Stupples with an injured wrist.
Out on the course, Catriona Matthew gave Europe a great lead with a 6 and 5 victory over the USA talisman, Paula Creamer, in the top singles and Sophie Gustafson added a second point for the home side with a final green win over Stacy Lewis.
For Gustafson, it was four wins out of four and she was Europe’s top point scorer. Matthew was also unbeaten and contributed a healthy three points.
Brittany Lang claimed the first point for the USA with a 6 and 5 margin over Sandra Gal and Morgan Pressel made sure of four wins for her USA side with a great comeback against Anna Nordqvist.
The American was two down after eight holes but, following a short rain delay, she came back and won five holes in a row and went on to win by 2 and 1.
The much-awaited singles between 51-year-old Juli Inkster, the oldest ever Solheim player, and 47-year-old Laura Davies, the only one to play in all 12 contests, came down to the last hole.
Davies, with the backing of the majority of the 28,000 final day audience, was one up playing the par four 18th and both players bunkered their second shots.
|Caroline Hedwall and her twin sister Jacqueline who acted as her caddie
But Inkster nearly holed her third from 30 yards, while the English woman failed to make a ten foot par putt. The match ended all square and it was a half point for the visitors.
Christina Kim comfortably defeated Maria Hjorth before two rookies both finally won their first Solheim Cup points. American Vicky Hurst beat Melissa Reid by two holes and Europe’s Christel Boeljon overcame Brittany Lincicome by the same margin.
With the score tied at 12 ½- 12 ½ it was then left for Europe’s final trio to compete the drama: and what a finale it was!
DAY THREE RESULTS – Sunday 25th September Singles (Europe names first)
Catriona Matthew beat Paula Creamer by 6 and 5
Sophie Gustafson beat Stacy Lewis by 2 holes
Anna Nordqvist lost to Morgan Pressel by 2 and 1
Laura Davies halved with Juli Inkster
Melissa Reid lost to Vicky Hurst by 2 holes
Christel Boeljon beat Brittany Lincicome by 2 holes
Sandra Gal lost to Brittany Lang by 6 and 5
Maria Hjorth lost to Christina Kim by 4 and 2
Suzann Pettersen beat Michelle Wie by 1 hole
Caroline Hedwall halved with Ryann O’Toole
Azahara Muñoz beat Angela Stanford by 1 hole
Karen Stupples won over Cristie Kerr *
*Due to injury Kerr conceded the match to Stupples and Europe were awarded the point
Europe 7 USA 5
Overall score: Europe 15 USA 13