Euros roll to Solheim Cup win

Dennis Georgatos, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PARKER, Colo. -- Sweden's Caroline Hedwall made the shot that started the Europeans' celebration. Scotland's Catriona Matthew put the party into high gear.
Hedwall gently tapped in a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Colorado Golf Club on 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.
Just a few minutes later, when 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.
"It's massive for women's golf, massive for the Solheim Cup," said Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who halved her match with Lizette Salas. "And for us, it's historical, to win on American soil, in Colorado, in front of pretty much an all-American crowd. We took it to them, and they couldn't answer."
When it was all said and done, except for the melodic chants of "Ole, Ole, Ole," ringing through the golf course into the night, the Europeans won 18-10. It was the biggest margin of victory in the history of the Solheim Cup.
"It's not the result that we wanted, obviously," U.S. captain Meg Mallon said. "But unfortunately, today was a European day. ... They played some great golf this week and really deserved to win."
Matthew, who trailed Piller by two strokes after 13 holes and by one as late the 16th before squaring the match, assured that the event would go down as an outright victory for the Europeans.
"It's a fantastic feeling," European captain Liselotte Neumann said. "I just can't tell you how proud I am of all of them. They all really played so well. Everybody has done something great for the team."
After sinking the putt to win her match, Hedwall 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 momentous putt came soon after play was resumed after a weather delay of about one hour.
"I don't know what to say right now," Hedwall said. "I'm just shaking. It's such a good feeling. This is what you practice for, to be part of this moment. It's unbelievable."
Wie had a chance to square the match with a 25-foot birdie putt, but the lie ran downhill and her attempt slipped just past the hole to the right. That set the stage for Hedwall's 1-up victory and the Europeans' 14th team point.
"She birdied the last hole to win, and there's nothing really I can do about that," Wie said. "I played my heart out today. There's nothing more I can ask for. I hung in there, stuck it out. They played great this week, and there's nothing you can do about that."
Hedwall did especially well, going 5-0 in Solheim Cup match play this week.
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 visitors wound up with five wins in the 12 singles matches, and five other matches were halved.
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 made 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, 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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