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Europe beats U.S. to retain Solheim Cup

The SportsXchange

PARKER, Colo. -- Sweden's Caroline Hedwall gently tapped in a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Colorado Golf Club Sunday for a one-stroke victory over American Michelle Wie, securing the point that enabled the Europeans to retain the Solheim Cup.

With Hedwall getting the 14th team point, the Europeans were assured of at least a tie in team scoring. That was enough to guarantee that Europe would retain the Cup it won two years ago in Ireland.

When Catriona Matthew halved her match with American Gerina Piller, it gave Europe 14.5 points and assured the Europeans their first Solheim Cup victory on American soil.

But the celebration came with Hedwall's victory. After sinking the winning putt, she pumped her fist in triumph when she saw the ball drop in the hole and then got a bear hug from her caddy. She got a congratulatory hug from Wie and then turned back toward the gallery to embrace a rush of teammates.

The winning putt came soon after play was resumed after a weather delay of about one hour.

Wie had a chance to square the match with a 25-foot birdie putt, but the lie ran downhill and her attempt just slipped past to the right of the hole. That set the stage for Hedwall's 1-up victory and the 14th team point.

Hedwall improved to 5-0 in Solheim Cup match play.

The Europeans positioned themselves for their first back-to-back wins in the event by sweeping all four Four-Ball matches during Saturday afternoon's session.

They led 10.5-5.5 heading into Sunday's final, which consisted of 12 singles match-play encounters, and needed only 3.5 points to retain the Cup, putting tremendous pressure on the Americans to win nearly every match.

It couldn't be done.

The Europeans scored the first point of the day when Charley Hull, a 17-year-old rookie who's the youngest ever to play in the Solheim Cup, swept past U.S. tour veteran Paula Creamer 5 and 4.

"I just didn't bring it today," said Creamer, who graciously signed a ball for Hull when she asked her to after the match. "This Solheim Cup brings the best and worst out of you.

"I wish I could've given her a better battle."

Hull birdied the sixth and seventh holes to go 2-up and then won three of the next five holes to extend her advantage to a commanding 5-up.

"I wasn't really thinking what she was doing, too much," Hull said. "I just played my own game."

American Stacy Lewis grabbed a 1-up advantage on Sweden's Anna Nordqvist with a birdie putt on the par-4 14th hole, her first lead of the day. But Nordqvist came back to drain an 18-foot birdie to win the 17th, where she had a hole in one to win her Four-ball match on Saturday. Lewis and Nordqvist then both made par putts on No. 18 and the match was halved.

Carlota Ciganda of Spain, playing in her first Solheim Cup, birdied five consecutive holes to take a 4-and-2 win over Morgan Pressel of Boca Raton., Fla., pulling Europe to within a point of victory.

Brittany Lang stalled the European momentum with a 2-and-1 win over Spain's Azahara Munoz, but it wasn't enough.
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