Europe celebrates its Solheim Cup victory. Jenny Matthews www.golffile.ieSuper rookies Caroline Hedwall and Azahara Muñoz built on a brilliant comeback by Suzann Pettersen to snatch the Solheim Cup for Europe.

Alison Nicholas’ side stage a late rally to beat the American 15-13 and take the trophy for the first time since 2003 at a weather-battered Killeen Castle.

Pettersen set the ball rolling when she birdied the last three holes to beat US superstar Michelle Wie by one hole on a day that saw play suspened three times due to rain and the threat of lightning.

Swedish ace Hedwall then came back from two down with two to play to grab a half with Ryann O’Toole before Spaniard Muñoz beat Angela Stanford to give Europe just its fourth win in 12 Solheim Cup battles.

Nicholas said: “I’ve been in agony all day. The players have had such heart and passion and purpose.  I hand it all to them.  They’ve been unbelievable.”

Describing Europe’s win as the greatest achievement of her career, Nicholas added: “They were so up for it and they believed in themselves.  They just fought to the end.  

“The rookies have done fantastic.  The experienced players have done really well as well.  It’s just been a real team effort.”

American captain Rosie Jones was gutted by her side’s defeat but paid tribute to Europe.

Jones said: “They were really hungry for this, and you could see it on those last five holes.  It was really amazing.

“It’s so emotional to watch these girls.  They fought so hard and really came together in the last couple of days to do so well, and it’s just really hard.”

The sides were tied 8-8 entering Sunday’s 12 singles matches but Europe won the session 7-5 with American Cristie Kerr forced to forfeit her match with Karen Stupples.

Kerr, who was set to play in the 12th singles match, was in tears on the range when she realised she would be unable to start due to a wrist injury.

The home side raced 11-8 ahead when Catriona Matthew hammered star American Paula Creamer 6 and 5 and Sophie Gustafason beat Stacy Lewis by two holes.

The Americans hit back when Morgan Pressel beat Anna Nordqvist 2 and 1 go undefeated and Brittany Lang beat German Sandra Gall 6 and 5.

Veteran Juli Inkster gave the US hope when she won the 18th with a par four to snatch a halved match with English legend Laura Davies before Christina Kim beat Swede Maria Hjorth 4 and 2 to level the scores.

Two hole wins for Europe’s Christel Boeljon over Brittany Lincicome and American Vicky Hurst over Melissa Reid left the match riding on the last three singles.

With Angela Stanford and Azahara Muñoz all square in the final singles, the game between Pettersen and Wie became crucial.

Pettersen birdied the par-three 16th from 18 feet to square the match but Wie birdied the 17th from 20 feet to remain all square after the Norwegian had hit her approach to three feet to set up an easy birdie.

Pettersen fired a brilliant approach to eight feet at the last but while the American came out to four feet from greenside sand, Europe’s top ranked player holed the birdie putt.

Pettersen said: “We knew it was going to come down to the last couple of matches if we had a chance and this is just fantastic.”

Wie groaned: “We’ve played hard.  We fought hard. They’re a strong team and they played well.  But you know what, losing sucks, and we need to keep this feeling for 2013.”

Munoz turned the tide Europe’s way with a birdie from three feet at the 17th and when O’Toole overshot the 18th against Hedwall and then failed to save par, Europe were guaranteed victory.




Europe 7, United States 5

Catriona Matthew, bt Paula Creamer 6 and 5;

Sophie Gustafson bt Stacy Lewis 2 holes;

Anna Nordqvist lost to Morgan Pressel 2 and 1;

Laura Davies halved with Juli Inkster;

Melissa Reid lost to Vicky Hurst 2 holes;

Christel Boeljon bt Brittany Lincicome 2 holes;

Sandra Gal lost to Brittany Lang 6 and 5;

Maria Hjorth lost to Christina Kim 4 and 2;

Suzann Pettersen bt Michelle Wie 1 hole;

Caroline Hedwall halved with Ryann O’Toole;

Azahara Muñoz bt Angela Stanford 1 hole;

Karen Stupples bt Cristie Kerr, walkover.