EUROPE PRODUCED THE most dominant victory in Solheim Cup history, routing the Americans 18-10 to retain the trophy and win the biennial event for the first time on US soil.
Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall went a perfect 5-0, sinking a four-foot putt to beat USA captain’s pick Michelle Wie 1 up and give the Europeans the 14 points they needed to make sure of keeping the trophy for another two years.
Hedwall is the first in Solheim history to go 5-0 and the only player on either team to play all five matches this week at the Colorado Golf Club.
Europe dominated with their putting, receiving big contributions from a half dozen Solheim Cup rookies, including 17-year-old Charley Hull of England. Hull overpowered American star Paula Creamer twice in as many days, winning the Saturday fourballs and the Sunday singles.
“I am so proud of my team,” said European captain Liselotte Neumann. “Caroline really stepped up to the plate, winning five which has never been done.
“Charley is amazing. Being a 17-year old and handling all this pressure.”
Europe’s eight point win was the biggest margin of victory in the history of the women’s golf tournament, breaking the old mark of seven points which was achieved twice in 2003 and 1990.
Europe took a commanding lead into Sunday’s 12 singles matches after blitzing the USA in the afternoon fourball sessions on Saturday.
They carried that momentum over to Sunday, winning two of the first three matches to finish and halving the other before Brittany Lang finally got the Americans on the board with a two and one win over Azahara Munoz of Spain.
Hull, who is the youngest player in Solheim Cup history, was the biggest surprise for Europe with her strong play all weekend. Hull combined with countrywoman Jodi Ewart-Shadoff to win Saturday’s afternoon fourballs match against Creamer and Lexi Thompson.
Hull said she didn’t feel anxious or apprehensive playing against former US Women’s Open winner Creamer.
I didn’t feel nervous. I am not going to die if I hit a bad shot. So I just hit it, find it, and hit it again,” said Hull, who even asked Creamer for an autograph for a friend after the match was over.
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda helped set the stage for Hedwall’s heroics as she beat Morgan Pressel four and two in the third match to be completed on Sunday, moving the Europeans to within one point of retaining the Cup.
“The Solheim Cup brings out the best and worst in you,” Creamer said.
Play was suspended for about an hour in the late afternoon because of bad weather in the area of the course, located 25 kilometers southeast of Denver. The horn blew to call the players off the course with eight of the 12 singles matches underway and Europe leading 13-7.
The Americans began the singles trailing 10.5-5.5 and needed a total of 14.5 points to win back the Cup they lost in Ireland in 2011. They knew going in they had their work cut out for them as no team has ever rallied from more than two points behind going into the Sunday singles.
“We really got our butts kicked,” said American captain Meg Mallon.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew halved her match with Gerina Piller to seal the victory for the Europeans.
After Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis halved the first match. Lang’s win over Munoz gave the USA a small glimmer of hope, but then Hedwall ended with a win over Wie.
“It is amazing,” said Europe vice-captain Annika Sorenstam. “It has been an amazing week. Our strategy turned out.
“We made history and it is fun to be part of.”
Captain Meg Mallon’s squad desperately wanted to avoid a repeat of Saturday when they were hopelessly outgunned as the Europeans swept the afternoon session of fourballs 4-0.
“It is heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking,” Wie said on Sunday.