Creamer rises to occasion as US overhaul Europe

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The Independent Online

The Americans won six of the first seven matches - none of those even reached the 18th hole - and were leading 14-10 when Meg Mallon clinched the cup with a par putt on the 16th hole, assuring them at least the 14 and a half points required to keep their record perfect at home.

Mallon won the next hole with a par to finish a 3 and 1 victory over Karen Stupples, and the celebrations began. America's Rosie Jones played in the final, meaningless match and earned a half-point against Suzann Pettersen.

It was the only match that reached the 18th hole on the final day. The final score was 15 and a half points to 12 and a half.

The victory was a perfect send-off for Jones, 45, who is retiring, and for the USA captain, Nancy Lopez, who drilled her troops through extra sessions of alternate shots before they arrived at Crooked Stick.

The matches were tied at eight each going into the last day - an advantage for the Americans because they have historically dominated the singles. Yesterday was no exception. "It's like a dream," Lopez said. "They played their hearts out."

For Europe, it was another lost chance to win the Solheim Cup on foreign soil. The United States now have a 6-3 lead in the series, which is the women's equivalent of the men's Ryder Cup where the top players from the United States face those of Europe.

"We came here to win, and everyone did their best," the Europe captain, Catrin Nilsmark, said. "The Americans just played better."

Annika Sorenstam produced the only victory for the Europeans among the first six matches, stemming the tide with a 4 and 3 triumph over Beth Daniel.

Europe took heart but it was proving a hopeless cause. The scoreboard was so awash with American red numbers that, when the final twosome teed off on a sunny afternoon here, Europe were not leading in any of the 12 matches.

And it was the youngest player in Solheim Cup history leading the way. Creamer, four months removed from her high school graduation in Florida, birdied the first hole against Davies and was on her way.

She was six shots up at the turn and won the match with a tee shot that stopped three feet above the hole on the 13th, a birdie that was conceded for a 7 and 5 victory.

For the first time all week, the United States had the lead. "This is a huge feat for me," Creamer said. "It was one of my goals to get here, and when I got here, I wanted to win. This is an unbelievable experience."