Europe hauled back the Americans with a sensational fightback and led 3-1 after the opening sereies of foursomes in the Solheim Cup at Crooked in Carmel, Indiana, today.
Aiming for a first win on US soil, the defending champions looked set for a morning setback when they trailed in three of the four matches entering the final stretch.
But, amazingly, the series ended with the home side not managing one full point.
Europe’s lead pair of Catriona Matthew and Carin Koch set the tone in the first match. Two down with four to play against teenage sensation Paula Creamer and the experienced Beth Daniel, they won the 15th and 17th to sneak half a point.
Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson were three down with four to play against Pat Hurst and rookie Christine Kim, but then won three holes in a row – the 15th and 17th to birdies – and only salvaged a half point with a par at the last.
But the biggest comeback of all came in the final match. World No.1 Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen were four down after 12 holes to Michele Redman and the five months pregnant Laura Diaz.
But Sorenstam then produced the form that has made her such a dominant player in the women’s game when she lipped out for a hole in one at the 13th.
The easy tap-in set up a run of five winning holes four with birdies for an unlikely one hole victory.
The powerful pairing of Laura Davies and Maria Hjorth put the first point on the board for Europe with a relatively comfortable 2 and 1 win over the American No.1 Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis.
Pettersen proved she was well worth her Captain’s pick after spending eight months out of the game with a back injury, as she made big putts for birdie at the 16th and 17th.
The win raised memories of Barseback in Sweden two years ago when Pettersen and Sorenstam produced a fighting win over Diaz and Kelly Robbins in the Saturday fourballs.
That victory put Europe three points ahead going into the final day – and provided the perfect burst of confidence to pave the way for a European victory.
“We got off to a terrible start and both Suzann and I were really struggling,” said Sorenstam. “But we had an incredible finish and it was so much fun.”
The scoreline maintained Europe’s traditional strength in the foursome format. It is the fourth set of matches in a row that Europe has led after the opening series.
Foursomes results (US names first) Beth Daniel and Paula Creamer halved with Carin Koch and Catriona Matthew Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis lost to Laura Davies and Maria Hjorth 2 and 1 Christina Kim and Pat Hurst halved with Sophie Gustafson and Trish Johnson Michele Redman and Laura Diaz lost to Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen one hole Score: USA 1 Europe 3
Fourball pairings Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon v Maria Hjorth and Iben Tinning Pat Hurst and Wendy Ward v Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis v Sophie Gustafson and Karen Stupples Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster v Laura Davies and Suzann Pettersen