Solheim Cup: Europe claim stunning one-point win at Gleneagles
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 15/09/19 8:01pm
Suzann Pettersen and Bronte Law held their nerve in the final stages of the 16th Solheim Cup to snatch a remarkable 14½- 13½ victory for Europe at Gleneagles.
Pettersen, whose selection as a wildcard was met with mild criticism, fully justified her inclusion as she holed the winning putt from six feet to beat Marina Alex on the final hole, moments after Law had closed out a 2&1 win over Ally McDonald on the 17th green.
With little to separate the two teams throughout a tense final day, Team USA had appeared on course to retain the trophy after winning four out of five matches in the middle order, with Megan Khang adding a bonus half when Charley Hull made a mess of the 18th when leading one-up.
Law was one down to McDonald with five to play, but she levelled a pivotal contest with a birdie at 14 and then holed a superb 20-foot putt for birdie at the long 16th, completing her victory when fellow rookie McDonald missed a short par putt on the next green.
Final day as it happened
Relive how the singles action unfolded on a super Solheim Sunday at Gleneagles
Pettersen had let slip a two-hole lead on the back nine against Alex and, needing to win the final hole to prevent the USA retaining the trophy with a 14-14 draw, the Norwegian blocked her drive way right but managed to lay up to a similar distance to her opponent.
The 38-year-old then piled on the pressure with a precise wedge which spun back five feet past the hole, while Alex's third was straight over the pin and left her 15 feet for birdie. And, after Alex's putt drifted just wide of the target, Pettersen showed tremendous nerve to rattle her putt into the middle of the cup to spark wild celebrations from the home team.
Catriona Matthew's side had earlier enjoyed an ideal start to Sunday's singles, winning three of the first four matches to go out before Juli Inkster's holders turned the contest around in the middle section of the draw.
Carlota Ciganda pipped Danielle Kang at the last in the top match, which was on the clock several times throughout the day, but Nelly Korda completed a hugely impressive debut when she hit back from three down at the turn to stun Caroline Hedwall in match two.
Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier both recovered from uncertain starts to beat Lexi Thompson and Annie Park respectively, with both Europeans rounding off perfect 4-0 records this week, but the tide began to turn in favour of the Americans when Brittany Altomare thrashed an out-of-sorts Jodi Ewart Shadoff 5&4.
Jessica Korda matched the back-nine performance of her sister to get the better of Caroline Masson, while Angel Yin held off a valiant fightback from Azahara Munoz, who reduced a four-hole lead to just one until Yin regrouped to birdie 16 and claim a 2&1 win with a par at the 17th.
Hull was on course to put some much-needed blue on the board when she birdied 16 to take the lead for the first time in her match with Khang, but after lipping out for victory on the 17th, Hull's composure deserted her at the last when she chunked her third and then chipped over the green with her fourth, gifting the Americans a half in match six.
Anne Van Dam was in tears after narrowly missing a birdie putt which would have snatched the Dutch rookie a battling half against Lizette Salas, an American win which took them to 13-and-a-half points and left Europe needing to win the final three matches.
Anna Nordqvist was always in control of the anchor match against Morgan Pressel, the Swede cruising to a 4&3 win, and Law and Pettersen then took centre stage and pulled off a sensational win in one of the closest contests in Solheim Cup history.
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