(24 August 2009 – Sugar Grove, Illinois)
Huge underdogs going into the 11th staging of The Solheim Cup, Team Europe certainly gave Team USA a run for their money before the Americans wrapped up a 16-12 victory at the Rich Harvest Farms course in Illinois. It was the third straight triumph for Team USA with the Europeans last winning at Barsëback in 2003.
rnAfter two days of keenly fought four-ball and foursomes competition, the teams headed to the final day of singles locked at 8 matches apiece. However the final day belonged to Team USA, who skipped out to an early lead on Sunday on the back of victories by Angela Stanford, Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie. However, a win by current Ricoh Women’s British Open Champion Catriona Mathew over Kristy McPherson put the Europeans back in the hunt.
rnThe crunch matches turned out to be huge for the Americans with both Laura Davies and Gwladys Nocera in front with 3 holes to play. Brittany Lang fought back from dormie 2 to birdie the last two holes and halve her match with Davies. Nocera surrendered her lead to Juli Inkster on the 16th and eventually had to birdie the last to grab a half as well. This left the Europeans two matches behind with six still on the course. Both teams picked up a point in the next two matches meaning the Americans just needed one point from the last four matches. They ended up winning two of those through Christina Kim and Morgan Pressel and halved the others for a four point victory.
rnAfter play had finished, Team USA Captain, Beth Daniel said, “Well, it&aposs awesome, especially since it was such a hard-fought battle. I mean, Alison had her team ready to play. I mean, we really had to dig deep, and it basically came down to the back nine. They really had to dig deep to win this, and I&aposm so proud of each and every one of them.”
rnSome interesting facts that emanated from this year’s Solheim are:
rn• Michelle Wie completed a successful week with a 1 up victory over Helen Alfredsson in the singles on Sunday. Wie, one of two captain&aposs picks on the 2009 team, ending the week with a 3-0-1 record to earn 3 ½ points. Just the second LPGA Tour rookie to play on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, Wie joined fellow Solheim Cup rookie Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel as the only undefeated Americans.
rn• Gwladys Nocera and Diana Luna were the only Europeans to remain undefeated through the week.
rn• Laura Davies is the only player to compete in all stagings of The Solheim Cup (11). She is also the player who has competed in the most number of matches.
rn• The close competition resulted in a record number of matches (14) that played out to 18 holes. Twelve matches went to the 18th hole in 1996 and in 2007.
Photo by Paul Melville – Paula Creamer