The mir­a­cle of Gle­nea­gles

Wild-card Pet­tersen grabs Sol­heim Cup vic­tory for Europe with fi­nal-putt hero­ics

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - James Corrigan GOLF COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Gle­nea­gles

‘How could you ask for any­thing more? I guess you just have to grab the mo­ment’

Re­demp­tion does not be­gin to de­scribe it. The vil­lain­ess be­came the hero­ine, Europe be­came the Sol­heim Cup win­ners and even the Ry­der Cup was obliged to bow in terms of match­play drama. The script could not have been penned any bet­ter, with Suzann Pet­tersen, cour­tesy of the fi­nal putt of the match, on the fi­nal green, and with what may well turn out to be the fi­nal putt of her ca­reer, deny­ing Amer­ica a third suc­ces­sive vic­tory.

With re­spect to the likes of Ge­or­gia Hall and Bronte Law – the lat­ter be­ing the English first-timer whose guts es­sen­tially set up Pet­tersen’s grand­stand mo­ment – and to Ca­tri­ona Matthew, the Scot­tish cap­tain, this was the Norwegian’s time. There the 38-year-old stood, over an eight-footer for the win, not only for her en­counter against Ma­rina Alex, but for the en­tire match and her en­tire con­ti­nent.

The only time the Ry­der Cup has wit­nessed any­thing like it was first when Bern­hard Langer ag­o­nis­ingly missed his short putt in 1991 and then when Martin Kaymer joy­ously holed his in 2012. But both of those were “only” to en­sure a half in the match and re­tain the tro­phy. This was for the en­tire she­bang – eight feet of hit or bust, do or sigh.

The iden­tity of the pro­tag­o­nist made it yet more of a fan­tas­ti­cal scene. Maybe it was not the “Mir­a­cle of Me­d­i­nah” be­cause, af­ter all, Europe had be­gun the day tied at 8-8, be­fore tak­ing the ultimate ses­sion 6½-5½. Yet the “Phe­nom­e­non in Perthshire” is a jus­ti­fied so­bri­quet, Pet­tersen con­jur­ing seven birdies as she refused to sub­mit.

If it is re­mark­able that this con­tro­ver­sial wild-card se­lec­tion only gave birth to her son, Her­man, a year ago and was picked by Matthew hav­ing played only two events in al­most two years, then some­how that ac­tu­ally seemed sec­ondary to her his­tory in this event.

To think, in her last Sol­heim, Pet­tersen, the for­mer world No2, had earned scorn across the globe

She did not know ex­actly what was at stake, only that ‘I could not miss’

for not con­ced­ing an 18-inch putt to rookie Ali­son Lee and af­ford­ing the US im­pe­tus to re­assert their dom­i­na­tion. Amer­ica won in 2017 as well, and Juli Inkster ar­rived with the mis­sion of be­com­ing the first cap­tain to attain a hat-trick. Yes, so much was rid­ing on that putt.

“How could you ask for any­thing more?” Pet­tersen said on the 18th green, tears rolling down her face af­ter be­ing mobbed by her cap­tain and team-mates. “I guess you just have to grab the mo­ment.” Ex­cept it was not only that mo­ment, that eight-footer on the par-five last for the birdie and the win over Alex that gave Europe and Matthew their 14½-13½ glory and their first Sol­heim cel­e­bra­tion in six years.

This was an af­ter­noon so com­pre­hen­sively packed with sig­nif­i­cant mo­ments it was dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend what was sig­nif­i­cant and what was not, as the pro­jec­tion leapt this way and that. Best to look at that fi­nal 30 min­utes when the emotions swamped all those brains here and on arm­chairs across the world des­per­ately try­ing to work out the math­e­mat­ics. Ba­si­cally it came down to the last matches left on the course. Law and Pet­tersen were both level and, with the US lead­ing at 13½-12½, there was ab­so­lutely no mar­gin for er­ror.

Law was as­ton­ish­ing in her gump­tion, her sta­tus as a debu­tant look­ing ab­surd as she holed an eight-footer on the 15th for a half, af­ter tak­ing two out of a bunker, and then go­ing one-up with a 20-footer for a birdie on the 16th. A par was good enough to close it out 2&1 on the 17th and Stock­port should be very proud of their 24-year-old. What a prospect she is.

It was ironic that the talk over the first few days had de­press­ingly fo­cused on the pace of play be­cause now the pace was ut­ter perfection. As Law shook hands with Ally Mc­don­ald, Pet­tersen was lin­ing up her putt on the hole ahead. She did not know ex­actly what was at stake, only that “I could not miss”. The re­mark­able scenes of the sin­gles ses­sion flashed be­fore the eyes of the ob­servers and at that stage an eerie si­lence swept across the glen.

It had be­gun with Car­lota Ci­ganda grasp­ing a point in the open­ing match that went to the 18th and which set the tone. Danielle Kang was the Spa­niard’s vic­tim and, af­ter her ex­traor­di­nary state

ments in the build-up – “we want to take their souls” – that ap­peared so ap­pro­pri­ate. Ci­ganda’s soul was in­tact, as were Europe’s am­bi­tions.

They took three of the first four matches, with Eng­land’s Hall win­ning her fourth point from four games by fend­ing off world No 3 Lexi Thomp­son 2&1. Her four­somes and four­balls part­ner, France’s Ce­line Boutier, was later to em­u­late Hall when de­feat­ing An­nie Park, also by 2&1, es­tab­lish­ing the pair as only the third and fourth Europe play­ers ever to ac­com­plish this feat.

Charley Hull also went un­beaten but the 23-year-old from Ket­ter­ing was dev­as­tated when mak­ing an aw­ful hash of the last to hand a half to Megan Khang. Hull had won three out of four points and had noth­ing to apol­o­gise for, but at that stage it did ap­pear cru­cial and the odds said that the US would just have enough. But then Law and Pet­tersen went to work.

After­wards, Pet­tersen im­plied that might be it, as far as she is con­cerned as a pro­fes­sional golfer. Surely not? Not af­ter this.

Flag-bear­ers: Europe’s play­ers cel­e­brate win­ning the Sol­heim Cup af­ter a thrilling day of sin­gles matches at Gle­nea­gles

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