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Golf Australia Express : Issue 13
THRILLING, DRAMATIC and nail-biting to the end, Europe finally regained the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2003. Nearing the end of day three, the finishing hole at Killeen Castle turned from green to a sea of blue as the jubilant European team swamped Solheim rookie Caroline Hedwall, whose half point match with Ryann O’Toole guaranteed the win with just one match to follow. Played under grey skies and threat of lightening and despite an early American ascendancy, it was the Europeans who ultimately stormed home to a slender 15-13 win. Starting the day locked at eight points apiece, the first episode of final day drama came with the shock withdrawal of top American seed Cristie Kerr with a wrist injury. Karen Stupples had scored a point for the Europeans without teeing off. There was more good news for Europe to follow. Catriona Matthew remained undefeated in Solheim singles crushing American Paula Creamer 6&5 to hand the American her first singles loss in four Solheim Cups. Europe’s Sophie Gustafson added another point to the home side with a win over Stacy Lewis at the final hole. For Gustafson, it was a clean sweep, winning four points from as many matches to become Europe’s top point scorer. The score was leaning towards Europe. But the US hit back as Brittany Lang gained a point with a 6&5 drubbing of Sandra Gal, and Morgan Pressel overcame an early deficit to beat Anna Nordqvist 2&1 in a tight affair. Pressel, too, enjoyed a clean sweep event, and was the leading US point scorer. The much-anticipated singles match between veterans Juli Inkster, 51, and Laura Davies, 47, came down the final hole. One down in her match playing the par-4 18th, the American nearly holed a clutch 30-metre shot from the sand, which settled at tap-in range. Davies then missed a 10-foot putt for the win. When that match finished all-square the contest started to tighten. American Christina Kim defeated Maria Hjorth 4& 2 before two Solheim rookies claimed their first points with wins at the last hole. Vicky Hurst beat Europe’s Melissa Reid by two holes before Christel Boeljon beat American Brittany Lincicome by the same margin. Tied at 121⁄2 points it came down to the last three matches and an enthralling half hour of golf. With three holes left, it appeared the US would reclaim the title, leading two of the matches. Enter world No.2 Suzann Pettersen. Enter Europe’s fighter. One down with three to play against Michelle Wie, Pettersen powered home with three birdies at the final three holes to swamp Wie at the death and record a famous point for Europe. Europe’s Caroline Hedwall, two down with three to play against the Cup’s surprise packet O’Toole, won the last two holes to upset the American and seal the deal. It was the fourth win for the Europeans from 12 contests, and they’ll go to Colorado Golf Club in two yearshoping to win for the first time on US soil. OTG WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN WOMEN’S GOLF WRAP THE EUROPE SNATCHES CUP Europe 15 Defeated USA 13