The United States retained The Solheim Cup with a 16 ½ to 11 ½ victory over Europe at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.
The hosts held a five-point lead going into Sunday and only needed to earn three and a half points from the 12 singles matches, whereas Europe needed nine, but the sides shared the singles matches equally.
Europe came out fighting and Anna Nordqvist went four-up after four holes in the top match, but the world number two Lexi Thompson rallied and was seven-under for eight holes from the 10th.
Thompson made two eagles at the 11th and 13th and then birdied the 16th to take a one-up lead heading into the last, but Nordqvist, who had won all three of her matches despite suffering from a bout of glandular fever, fired a superb 8-iron shot up the last for a conceded birdie putt to halve the match, which will be remembered as one of the best in Solheim Cup history.
Nordqvist said afterwards: “I’m just speechless right now. I played great all day. And the way she turned it around, I mean, I hit it to, what, three feet on 11 and she ends up making for eagle. And hit a great shot into 15, after we tied 14, made a good putt there. Didn’t quite expect her to make that putt and mine ended up lipping out, so quality golf from Lexi on the back nine. To be eight-under over seven holes, very impressed.”
Thompson said: “That was the weirdest round of golf I’ve ever played. Front nine I don’t think I was awake. And the back nine I just played lights out. Being 4-down or 3-down going into the back nine, I was just, like, I just have to go all in and go for it all, and that’s what I did. I think I shot 6-under total, two-over on my front, and eight-under on my back, so it was just a crazy round.”
There was a European point from the evergreen Catriona Matthew, who defeated Stacy Lewis 1 up to make it six wins, two losses and one half from her nine career singles matches.
She said later: “This is going to be my last one playing. You know, I was 3-down through 11 and I kind of said to myself this is going to be my last match, so give it my all, and got all the holes in, managed to play all 18, and just squeak it past, so I enjoyed the moment today, but I think it’s time for some younger players to take over.”
There was another point for the Europeans when Caroline Masson secured a 4&2 win over Michelle Wie.
“I was really fired up, to be honest. I feel like I played well all week. It just didn’t happen to get a point on the board for our team. It was a little frustrating. But I knew I was playing well. I just wanted to, obviously, get out somewhat early and make a little bit of a statement, too. And I think I got off to a hot start. I just putted really well, played pretty solid,” Masson said.
But then the momentum swung in America’s favour.
Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer posted victories for the home side, before Angel Yin halved her match against Karine Icher to reach 13 ½ points, effectively sealing the victory, with at least a half point already guaranteed from Lizette Salas.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff won the 17th to keep the match alive, but after her birdie putt on the last slipped past the hole, Salas holed a par putt from five feet to get the winning point for the United States team, taking the score to 14 ½.
Salas said: “This is what I work for all year and today’s probably the best golf I’ve played all year and to do that in front of my home crowd and to wear the red, white and blue is such an honour. The fact that I made the last putt to secure it is un-describable. I’m still shaking, and just glad I got it done for Team USA.”
With tears of joy and draped in the United States flag, the daughter of Mexican immigrants added: “I have the best parents in the world. We’re just glad to be here and we’re proud Americans, and this is really special.”
With the match over as a contest, Charley Hull completed a victory over Brittany Lang on the 18th and Carlota Ciganda wrapped up a 4&3 victory over Brittany Lincicome. Madelene Sagstrom then earned her first point for the European team with a 3&2 victory over fellow Solheim Cup rookie Austin Ernst.
There were also two more points for the United States when Gerina Piller earned a 4&2 victory over Florentyna Parker and Danielle Kang defeated Emily Kristine Pedersen by 3&1.
Juli Inkster, who became the second United States captain to achieve two victories, after Judy Rankin in 1996 and 1998, said afterwards: “I’m glad we had a lead because Europe came out firing and I knew they would.
“They just came in in good form. They came in ready to play. They knew what this golf course demanded. We had great preparation. We played loose. And we played free. We played for each other.
“I’m sure Europe had a good time, too. But we tried not to make anything too regimented, just let them do their thing. We had some great team-room dinners and had a lot of banter and a lot of ping-pong. But it’s amazing. I just can’t believe we won.”
After making it 10 wins for the United States from 15 contests, Inkster congratulated Annika Sorenstam and her team for an amazing match in Des Moines.
Sorenstam said: “We just got outplayed, there’s no doubt about it. I’m so proud how hard they fought. And it’s not easy coming out here on a Sunday with the team so far behind, but I’m proud of them. They’re out there fighting every single match, every single point. What can I say? Just congratulate the U.S.A. because they played some awesome golf.
“Sometimes it’s not always about the results. I must say that this has been a lot about the journey. I’ve learned a lot the last 18 months. It’s been a pleasure to represent the European Tour. I’m so proud of these young girls, and to get to know them, new friendships, new memories.”
When asked if she would like to continue as Captain, Sorenstam replied: “I want to give someone else the chance to do it. It’s time to move the torch to someone else and we have some great candidates.”
Despite the result, there were 12 happy faces on the European team and the praise for Sorenstam was unanimous as an ‘exceptional captain.’
The next Solheim Cup will be played at Gleneagles, in Scotland, on 13th to 15th September 2019. Tickets will go on sale on 24th August at SolheimCup2019.com.
Final Results and Pairings
2017 SOLHEIM CUP
Day One – Friday 18th August
Morning Foursomes Results
Melissa Reid and Charley Hull (EUR) halved with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson (USA)
Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas (USA) defeated Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson (EUR) 1up
Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist (EUR) defeated Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst (USA) 3&1
Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew (EUR) defeated Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller (USA) 1 up
Result Europe 2 ½ USA 1 ½
Afternoon Four Ball Results
Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang (USA) defeated Madelene Sagstrom and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (EUR) 3&1
Angel Yin and Lizette Salas (USA) defeated Carlota Ciganda and Emily Pedersen (EUR) 6&5
Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang (USA) defeated Florentyna Parker and Caroline Masson (EUR)
Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller (USA) defeated Charley Hull and Georgia Hall (EUR) 2&1
Result Europe 0 USA 4
Cumulative Result Europe 2 ½ USA 5 ½
Day Two – Saturday 19th August
Morning Foursomes Results:
Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson (USA) defeated Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson (EUR) 5&3
Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst (USA) defeated Mel Reid and Emily Kristine Pedersen (EUR) 5&3
Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall (EUR) defeated Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller (USA) 2&1
Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher (EUR) defeated Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang (USA) 2&1
Result Europe 2 USA 2
Cumulative Result Europe 4 ½ USA 7 ½
Afternoon Four Ball Results:
Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome (USA) defeated Mel Reid and Carlota Ciganda (EUR) 2 up
Anna Nordqvist and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (EUR) defeated Lizette Salas and Angel Yin (USA) 4&2
Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst (USA) defeated Karine Icher and Madelene Sagstrom (EUR) 2&1
Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson (USA) defeated Catriona Matthew and Georgia Hall (EUR) 4&2
Result: Europe 1 USA 3
Cumulative Result Europe 5 ½ USA 10 ½
Day Three – Sunday 20th August
Sunday Singles Results:
Anna Nordqvist (EUR) halved with Lexi Thompson (USA)
Paula Creamer (USA) defeated Georgia Hall (EUR) 1 up
Cristie Kerr (USA) defeated Mel Reid (EUR) 2&1
Catriona Matthew (EUR) defeated Stacy Lewis (USA) 1 up
Karine Icher (EUR) halved with Angel Yin (USA)
Caroline Masson (EUR) defeated Michelle Wie (USA) 4&2
Lizette Salas (USA) defeated Jodi Ewart Shadoff (EUR) 1 up
Charley Hull (EUR) defeated Brittany Lang (USA) 1 up
Carlota Ciganda (EUR) v. Brittany Lincicome (USA) 4&3
Gerina Piller (USA) defeated Florentyna Parker (EUR) 4&2
Madelene Sagstrom (EUR) defeated Austin Ernst (USA) 3&2
Danielle Kang (USA) defeated Emily Pedersen (EUR) 3&1
Result: Europe 6 USA 6
Cumulative Result Europe 11 ½ USA 16 ½