United States Retains Trophy at Entertaining Solheim Cup
The United States duly retained the Solheim Cup at Des Moines with a comfortable 16.5-11.5 victory over Europe. The hosts went into the singles with a five-point lead and never really looked like losing a match that was effectively decided when the hosts won the Friday fourballs 4-0. It was a deficit from which Europe were never able to recover.
Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer both won their matches before Angel Yin secured a half point that put Juli Inkster's team on the brink of triumph, and Lizette Salas clinched victory with a one up win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff. The United States have now won five of the last seven competitions and 10 from 15 since the Solheim Cup began in 1990.
"The Europeans fought hard today and made it really close," said US captain Juli Inkster. “I really haven't been nervous all week but today I was a little bit. It's an honour to captain this team and I'm really proud of the girls.”
"We just got outplayed, there's no doubt about it," said European captain Annika Sorenstam.
In the first match of the day, Lexi Thompson was four down to Europe's leading player Anna Nordqvist after nine holes, but produced an inspired fightback. The American eagled the 11th and 15th and birdied the 16th and, remarkably, was one up going down the last. Nordqvist, who had won all three of her matches over the first two days despite recovering from a bout of glandular fever, hit an inspired approach shot on the last to halve the match.
"That had to be the weirdest round of golf I've ever played," Thompson said. “Front nine I don't think I was awake and back nine I played lights out. It was just a crazy round but Anna played great.”
Nordqvist added: "I got a little shaky there in the middle watching her make birdies and eagles but she gave me the chance missing that putt on 17," said the Swede. "I'm very impressed with her back nine and very proud of myself.”
Thompson's comeback gave the American team momentum and Kerr wrapped up a 2&1 victory over Mel Reid on the 17th and moments later Creamer won one up against Georgia Hall.
That left the Americans needing one more point but victories from Germany's Caroline Masson, who beat Michelle Wie 3&2, and Scotland's Catriona Matthew, who trailed all the way until the 15th before beating Stacy Lewis one up, kept the contest alive.
Angel Yin looked like she would complete the hosts' victory but the 18-year-old bogeyed the 17th and halved her match with France's Karine Icher, but with the US ahead in other matches it was enough to confirm they would retain the cup. Spain's Carlota Ciganda thrashed Brittany Lincicome 4&3 before Salas beat Ewart Shadoff for a one up victory on the 18th.
England's Florentyna Parker, who struggled all week, lost 4&2 to Gerina Piller but Charley Hull, who missed all of Saturday's play because of a wrist injury, battled to a one up victory over Brittany Lang, and Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom earned a 3&2 win over Austin Ernst.
The competition finished with Emily Kristine Pedersen losing 3&1 to Danielle Kang but the European team showed their team spirit by walking arm in arm down the 16th fairway with the Dane.
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