Europe stun USA with dra­matic fight­back to lift Sol­heim Cup

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - Front page - Mark Gar­rod

EUROPE won the Sol­heim Cup for the first time in four re­newals af­ter a dra­matic fin­ish to the fi­nal day’s sin­gles.

The home side had led 10-8 and 11-9 at Killeen Cas­tle in Ire­land, but were pegged back and at one point trailed 12.5 to 11.5.

But Chris­tel Boeljon lev­elled and Suzann Pet­tersen, Caro­line Hed­wall and Aza­hara Munoz saw them to a 15-13 vic­tory.

With those three pairs left out on the course, all eyes were on the duel be­tween Pet­tersen and Michelle Wie.

The Amer­i­can was one up go­ing into the 16th when Pet­tersen sunk a putt to level, the pair then go­ing into the fi­nal hole all square.

Pet­tersen held her nerve with a su­perb sec­ond shot while Wie found the bunker, and the Nor­we­gian holed her putt for a birdie-birdie-birdie fin­ish and a fine win.

And fel­low Scan­di­na­vian Hed­wall sealed vic­tory when she won the last hole to halve her match with Ryann O’Toole.

The Swede’s ap­proach spun back from the fringe of the green while O’Toole missed the green to the left and then duffed her chip, kin­dling mem­o­ries of Hunter Ma­han’s de­ci­sive 17th-hole melt- down against Graeme Mc­Dow­ell in last year’s Ry­der Cup.

She sent her next nar­rowly past the hole and, with Munoz ly­ing dormie one, Hed­wall’s half-point se­cured the tro­phy for Europe – though their cel­e­bra­tions on the green and fair­way, with Munoz and Stan­ford still to play, were ex­ces­sive.

Munoz had nerve­lessly holed out to go down the last one up and, once or­der was re­stored, halved the last to earn a full point and a two-point win­ning mar­gin for Europe.

Cap­tain Ali­son Ni­cholas said: “The play­ers showed such heart and pas­sion, I hand it all to them.

“They were so up for it and be­lieved in them­selves, the rook­ies were fan­tas­tic and the ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers have done well as well.”

She re­served spe­cial praise for Pet­tersen and Hed­wall, say­ing of the former: “She’s a cham­pion, and that’s what cham­pi­ons are made of.”

On Hed­wall, she added: “What a great rookie per­for­mance, she’s a star of the fu­ture – watch out for her.”

Hed­wall added: “It’s a great win, it’s nice to win it on home soil. It’s been a great at­mos­phere all week, it’s one of the best weeks of my life.”

On a day dis­rupted by the weather, with driv­ing rain and wind and the threat of light­ning forc­ing play to be sus­pended three times, Europe had moved into a 10-8 lead af­ter Ca­tri­ona Matthew’s dom­i­nant vic­tory fol­lowed Cristie Kerr’s with­drawal through in­jury.

The three-time LPGA win­ner won 6&5 against Paula Creamer af­ter the Amer­i­can missed a putt at the 13th.

The Scot’s vic­tory in County Meath came af­ter Kerr was forced to pull out of her sin­gles match against Karen Stup­ples be­cause of a wrist in­jury.

Kerr later re­leased a state­ment say­ing: “I’m dev­as­tated that I couldn’t play to help rep­re­sent my team. I tried my best but I couldn’t hold the golf club.”

The pen­du­lum kept swing­ing from one team to the other, with the United States re­duc­ing the deficit to one point when Brit­tany Lang had a dom­i­nant 6&5 vic­tory over San­dra Gal.

How­ever, mo­ments later Europe re­stored their two-point lead when So­phie Gustafson won two up against Stacy Lewis for her third win in four matches this week.

Mor­gan Pres­sel came from two down to win 2&1 against Anna Nordqvist and Europe led only 11-10.

The tus­sle be­tween Laura Davies and Juli Inkster was a fas­ci­nat­ing one and, fol­low­ing yet an­other break be­cause of the threat of light­ning, the play­ers re­turned and when the former just missed on her fi­nal putt it meant the match fin­ished all-square, tak­ing the score to 11.5 to 10.5.

Amer­i­can Christina Kim en­joyed a dom­i­nant vic­tory over Maria Hjorth, 4&2, to square it at 11.5 each be­fore Vicky Hurst’s two-up vic­tory put the USA ahead, only for Europe to roar back.

Ken­neth Fer­rie came through a play-off with fel­low English­man Si­mon Wake­field to lift the Aus­trian Golf Open in Atzen­brugg.

The 32-year-old, from New­cas­tle, held his nerve to lift a third Euro­pean Tour ti­tle.

He sealed the win on the 18th hole, be­ing af­forded two putts to do so de­spite his ini­tial drive go­ing wide of the fair­way while Wake­field’s landed on it.

Stafford­shire’s Wake­field, last year’s Qual­i­fy­ing School cham­pion, over­hit his sec­ond shot into rough at the back of the green, though, and, af­ter Fer­rie had re­cov­ered with a beau­ti­ful sec­ond to within seven feet of the pin, the rest was a for­mal­ity.

PIC­TURE: JULIEN BEHAL/PA.

AL­MOST THERE: Europe’s Suzann Pet­tersen cele­br­tates with her caddy David Brooker af­ter win­ning her sin­gles match against USA’s Michelle Wie. The re­sult helped the hosts to a 15-13 over­all vic­tory at Killeen Cas­tle in Ire­land. Be­low, Pet­ter­son is joined in the cel­e­bra­tions by her team-mates and cap­tain Ali­son Ni­cholas.

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