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21st September 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Tears of joy as USA wins Solheim Cup

TeamUSAAfter a dramatic, controversial and tearful final day, the USA defeated Europe on Sunday to win the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2009.

The US team was 10-6 behind going into the 12 singles — the same score that Europe trailed the USA before coming back to win the Ryder Cup at Medinah in 2012 — but rallied to triumph by one point.

Paula Creamer claimed the winning point in the final singles match with a 4 and 3 win over Sandra Gal to hand the United States a 14 1/2 – 13 1.2 victory.

Earlier in the day, Alison Lee had been reduced to tears after she controversially cost the United States a point. Feeling hard done by, the USA found the extra inspiration to win 8 1/2 out of 12 singles points.

Europe came close as American Gerina Piller had to hole a 12-foot par putt at the 18th to secure a vital full point against Caroline Masson, while Cristie Kerr, three down after four holes against Charley Hull, won six of the next eight holes to claim a 3 and 2 win.

Creamer had the honour of clinching the Cup and finally breaking European hearts.

USA Captain Juli Inkster was joyous.

“I am so proud of my team,” she said. “They all played great golf and showed great heart. I didn’t really need to motivate them they were just all so determined to get the Cup back.”

The controversial incident definitely helped galvanise the visiting team.

With three of the fourball matches held over from Saturday due to bad light, play started early with Europe winning one point and the USA taking another.

The third and final match featuring Suzann Pettersen and Hull was all square with two holes to play against Lee and Brittany Lincicome.

Lee missed her birdie putt and then assumed that her next putt had been given and she picked up her ball. Hull was walking to the next tee, but Pettersen called the referee and pointed out that there had been no concession.

That meant the US incurred a penalty stoke and so they lost the hole. Europe went on to win the point –- which would otherwise have gone the Americans’ way — and emotions boiled over with both Lee and Hull in tears at the end.

Pettersen’s action was backed by European captain Carin Koch.

“There was a rules meeting at the start of the week and the players knew they had to wait until a putt was conceded,” said the Swede. “We play by the rules.”

But Inkster was extremely bitter. “I can’t believe it,” she said. “It’s not right to do that to your peers. It’s disrespectful. But if that’s the way they want to win. I just don’t get it. I expected Carin to step in.”

In the singles, Karine Icher struck the first blow for Europe with a 3 and 2 win over Lincicome and Carlota Ciganda added another half point against Lexi Thompson in a classy top match that shared 14 birdies.

But then the tide began to turn.

Morgan Pressel claimed the first full point for the Americans with a final hole win over Catriona Matthew, who had only lost one of her seven previous Solheim singles matches.

Europe hit back when Melissa Reid claimed a 2 and 1 win over Brittany Lang. It was an emotional win for the 28-year-old as her mother, Joy, was killed in a traffic accident while watching her daughter play in a tournament in Germany in 2012.

“I knew we needed this point,” said the English woman after hugging her father, Brian, who survived the car crash. “It’s huge. I have a lot of credit to give to my family.”

Lee then got a smile on her face with a 3 and 1 win over Gwladys Nocera and more points followed for the USA from Piller, Michelle Wie, Lizette Salas, Angela Stanford, Cristie Kerr and, finally, Creamer.

FINAL DAY SCORES
FOURBALLS  - Score: Europe 2 USA 2
Azahara Munoz and Carlota Ciganda (Europe) lost to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson (USA) 3 and 2
Caroline Hedwall and Caroline Masson (Europe) lost to Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller (USA) 1 hole
Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher (Europe) bt Lizette Salas and Brittany Lang (USA) 2 and 1
Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen (Europe) bt Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome (USA) 1 hole

SINGLES - Score: Europe 3 1/2 USA 8 1/2
Carlota Ciganda (Europe) halved with Lexi Thompson (USA)
Catriona Matthew (Europe) lost to Morgan Pressel (USA) 2 holes
Karine Icher (Europe) bt Brittany Lincicome (USA) 3 and 2
Melissa Reid (Europe) bt Brittany Lang (USA) 2 and 1
Gwladys Nocera (Europe) lost to Alison Lee (USA) 3 and 1
Caroline Masson (Europe) lost to Gerina Piller (USA) 1 hole
Anna Nordqvist (Europe) bt Stacy Lewis (USA) 2 and 1
Azahara Munoz (Europe) lost to Lizette Salas (USA) 3 and 1
Suzann Pettersen (Europe) lost to Angela Stanford (USA) 2 and 1
Charley Hull (Europe) lost to Cristie Kerr (USA) 3 and 2
Caroline Hedwall (Europe) lost to Michelle Wie (USA) 6 and 4
Sandra Gal (Europe) lost to Paula Creamer (USA) 4 and 3

FINAL SCORE  - USA 14 1/2 Europe 13 1/2

PHOTO CREDIT – Stuart Franklin / Getty Images
Quotes and some copy – courtesy of AFP.