Golf: Europe's Solheim Cup collapse

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The Independent Online
The United States overran Europe on the final day to regain the Solheim Cup at The Greenbrier, West Virginia, yesterday. Europe, level at 5-5 after the foursomes and fourballs, lost eight of the 10 concluding singles to go down 13-7.

'After having our noses rubbed in it for two years it's a great feeling,' said Patty Sheehan, who joined Betsy King as a losing American.

The decisive moment came when Meg Mallon defeated Scotland's Pam Wright by two- putting the final green for a one-hole victory. Three matches were still on the course, but with Laura Davies, the world No 1, one down to Brandie Burton with one to play, the United States could not be beaten.

Davies was left to battle only for pride down the 18th, but Burton took revenge for her defeat in the 111 2 -61 2 European victory at Dalmahoy in 1992.

'All of a sudden my match didn't seem important any more,' Davies said. 'I was just playing for pride and I even messed that up. We had our chances, but we just didn't do it. They were a very strong team and like most tournaments it's who plays best on Sunday who wins. I putted badly all week and I think the whole match came down to the putting.'

Mickey Walker, the European captain, said: 'The United States were really tough this afternoon. We knew we had to play great golf to win and we just didn't. But I still think it has been a wonderful European performance - one I am very proud of.'

Her opposite number, JoAnne Carner, said through tears: 'I'm so proud of this team. They wanted to win so bad and so did I. I didn't think it would end that quick.'

The first point of the day was secured in brilliant fashion by Dottie Mochrie, who beat the 1992 heroine, Catrin Nilsmark, six and five. 'I wanted to get a point on the board fast,' said Mochrie, who had seven birdies in 10 holes from the fourth to sweep to her third win in three games this week.

Helen Alfredsson brought the match back level at 6-6, however, by beating King two and one. Three up with four to play, Alfredsson lost the 15th and King had a six-foot chance to get another one back at the 16th. She missed and the game ended when she failed to hole from five feet on the next.

Lora Fairclough had beaten Kelly Robbins in both foursomes and fourballs, but in meeting of the rookies, the American won four and two, the match ending when Fairclough went in the lake at the 16th.

Trish Johnson led Beth Daniel by one on three separate occasions on the front nine, but trailed by one from the 12th to the last, where she had an 18-foot birdie chance. It went four feet past, however, and after Daniel had sent her first putt two feet past, Johnson missed the return. It completed a miserable week for the Bristol player, who lost all her three games.

Alison Nicholas grabbed the notable scalp of Sheehan three and two, but both ahead of her and behind her matters had turned dire for Europe.

Montgomerie top, page 34 (Photograph omitted)