GLENEAGLES, United Kingdom (AFP) – Europe regained the Solheim Cup with a thrilling 14.5-13.5 victory over the United States (US) on Sunday at Gleneagles with Norwegian wildcard Suzann Pettersen sinking the winning putt.
A controversial pick, Pettersen made a birdie on the 18th in the last match on the course to defeat Marina Alex one-up in a dramatic finale in the event’s closest-ever finish.
It was a first defeat for US Captain Juli Inkster – and it makes it three wins out of three in Scotland for Europe following on from Dalmahoy (1992) and Loch Lomond (2000).
“This is fantastic,” said Europe’s Scottish captain Catriona Matthew after their first victory since 2013.
“I knew the last few matches would be crucial.”
Pettersen, a new mother who had hardly played in two years, was a controversial wildcard selection.
“But I always had faith,” added Matthew.
“It is all still a blur,” said Pettersen.
“I knew it was close. But Catriona came up to me at the last and I said ‘is this why you picked me?’ This is just so fantastic for Europe.”
It was Europe’s sixth Solheim Cup win, with the USA 10-time champions.
Europe won three of the first four singles matches.
Carlota Ciganda claimed the 16th and 18th holes for a key victory over Danielle Kang in the top match and then Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier added two more points for the home team.
The USA responded with a win for Nelly Korda and it sparked a string of red points in the middle order. Brittany Altomare had the biggest win of the day, five and four over Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and Angel Yin and the older Korda sister, Jessica, added more points.
Charley Hull stopped the rot – although she did lose the last hole – with a halved match against Megan Khang, but Lizette Salas got the USA to within half a point of retaining the Cup with a one-hole victory over Anne van Dam.
But then came the sting in the US tail.
Anna Nordqvist comfortably won the final singles – four and three over Morgan Pressel – and that left the door open for Bronte Law (two and one win over Ally McDonald) and Pettersen to become heroines and deliver the European dream.