Europe win Solheim Cup - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Europe win Solheim Cup

Europe 14 1/2 USA 11 1/2

Europe won the Solheim Cup for the first time since 1992 as Carin Koch dropped a 10-foot birdie putt today on the 17th hole to secure the 13 1/2 points needed to take the cup from the Americans.

Europe won the Solheim Cup for the first time since 1992 as Carin Koch dropped a 10-foot birdie putt today on the 17th hole to secure the 13 1/2 points needed to take the cup from the Americans.

The European victory ended the hope of a fearsome American comeback in the final 12 singles matches. The Americans trailed by five points going into Sunday's singles but rallied to tie 11 1/2-11 1/2 with three matches still on the course.

But in the space of just a minute, Swede Catrin Nilsmark parred the 18th to defeat Rosie Jones 1-up. On 17, another Swede Koch - one of six on the team - got the winning putt on 17 to defeat Michele Redman 2 and 1.

The only other European victory in the women's version of the Ryder Cup also came in wet conditions in Scotland eight years ago at the Dalmahoy in Edinburgh. The U.S. still leads the series 4-2.

Europe won the cup 14 1/2-11 1/2 in the closest finish in Solheim history as the underdog Europeans held on after running off to an unprecedented 4-0 lead in Friday's first foursomes (alternate shot) session and neved trailed.

"No individual championship can top this. It's the U.S. Open and British Open rolled into one," said Laura Davies, one of five Euroepan players who have participated in all six Solheims.

"It looked like we had blown it, it looked like we had buckled."

The European victory helped soften the biggest controversy of the three-day event.

Swede Annika Sorenstam chipped in from 25 feet off the 13th green in her fourball match Sunday morning for what appeared to be a birdie. But the Americans protested she had played out of turn - meaning she was not the farthest from the hole.

Sorenstam, who broke down in tears and was consoled by partner Janice Moodie, replayed the shot and just missed. American Pat Hurst - playing with Kelly Robbins - dropped her short birdie putt to increase the lead to two holes.

Hurst and Robbins went on to win 2 and 1 for the only U.S. victory in fourball.

"It is just really sad when you have tournaments like this," Sorenstam said. "It is sad to see that the ugly part of them came out because both Pat and Kelly are the nicest they have. It is just sad to see that - that they don't even have sportsmanship."

"Our goals was to make this a first-class event in the sense that we would show the men how to do it. Personally, I don't think it turned out that way."

The partial washout of fourball on Saturday and a 1-hour-40 minute rain delay Sunday left the deciding matches being played at near dusk on a stormy, overcast day dotted with a few rays on sunshine at the Loch Lomond Golf Club.

Fearing all the matches would not be completed with more rain forecast for Monday - and Monday dusk as the deadline - both captains stacked the lineups with their top players leading off in singles.

The U.S. took four of the first five singles with wins for Juli Inkster (5 and 4 over Annika Sorenstam), Brandie Burton (4 and 3 over Sophie Gustafson), Dottie Pepper (2 and 1 over Trish Johnson) and Kelly Robbins (3 and 2 over Laura Davies). The only European win early came as Helen Alfredsson beat Beth Daniel 4 and 3.

The Americans let a crucial half point get away in the sixth match when Pat Hurst, one of the best U.S. players all week, missed a 4-foot putt to win the match on 18 with Liselotte Neumann holing out to halve.

Europe salvaged another unexpected half point in the seventh group when Sherri Steinhauer hit a bunker with her tee shot at 18 with Alison Nicholas dropping a dramatic 25 foot birdie to halve the match.

In the eighth match, American Meg Mallon also came to 18 leading at Hurst and Steinhauer before her. But she made a great up-and-down with a 50-yard third to 4 feet and a par putt to halve the hole and win the match against Patricia Meunier Lebouc.

In a match that was never close, American Becky Iverson beat Raquel Carriedo 3 and 2.

That left three matches still out - the two deciders - and the last match in which Scot Janice Moodie beat Nancy Scranton 1-up after the outcome had been decided by Koch and Nilsmark.

Europe win 14 1/2 USA 11 1/2

Singles results (European names first)

A Sorenstam lost to J Inkster 5&4 S Gustafson lost to B Burton 4&3 H Alfredsson bt B Daniel 4&3 T Johnson lost to D Pepper 2&1 L Davies lost to K Robbins 3&2 L Neumann halved P Hurst A Nicholas halved S Steinhauer PM Lebouc lost to M Mallon 1hole C Nilsmark bt R Jones 1 hole R Carriedo lost to B Iverson 3&2 C Koch bt M Redman all square 2&1 J Moodie bt N Scranton 1 hole

Results from the Solheim Cup with two matches completed and four others suspended because of rain at the Loch Lomond Golf Club:

Europe 7 1/2, United States 2 1/2

Saturday Fourball

Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson, Europe, def. Rosie Jones and Becky Iverson, United States, 3 and 2.

Alison Nicholas and Helen Alfredsson, Europe, def. Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, United States, 3 and 2.

Completed Sunday

Catrin Nilsmark and Carin Koch, Europe, def. Nancy Scranton and Michele Redman, United States, 2 and 1.

Lisolette Neumann and Patricia Meunier Lebouc halved with Dottie Pepper and Brandie Burton.

Laura Davies and Raquel Carriedo, Europe, halved with Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, United States.

Pat Hurst and Kelly Robbins, United States, def. Annika Sorenstam and Janice Moodie, Europe, 2 and 1.

Friday

Morning Session - Foursomes

Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas, Europe, def. Dottie Pepper and Juli Inkster, United States, 4 and 3.

Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson, Europe, def. Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst, United States, 3 and 2.

Catrin Nilsmark and Carin Koch, Europe, def. Brandie Burton and Becky Iverson, United States, 2 and 1.

Annika Sorenstam and Janice Moodie def. Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, United States, 1-up.

Afternoon Session

Becky Iverson and Rosie Jones, def. Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas, Europe, 6 and 5.

Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, United States halved Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson, Europe.

Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst, United States, def. Liselotte Neumann and Helen Alfressson, Europe, 1-up.

Janice Moodie and Annika Sorenstam, Europe, def. Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, United States, 1-up.

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