Europe finally wins the Solheim Cup in America

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm •  Published: August 18, 2013

PARKER, Colo. (AP) — Even with six rookies on her team, captain Liselotte Neumann told the Europeans this was their time to make history in the Solheim Cup.

All she wanted was for them to prove they could win in America.

They gave her so much more.

Caroline Hedwall became the first player in Solheim Cup history to win five matches, and the final point was for more than the 24-year-old Swede. She stuck her approach on the 435-yard 18th hole into 4 feet for a birdie that gave her a 1-up win over Michelle Wie and assured Europe of keeping the cup.

"I'm still shaking," Hedwall said. "It's just amazing."

Moments later, Catriona Matthew holed a 5-foot par putt to halve her match and give Europe the outright win on the seventh try in America.

And it only got better.

Even as the celebration played out across Colorado Golf Club, tears rushing over the European stickers on their cheeks, Neumann's crew kept battling for half-points until the very end. The Solheim Cup ended when Cristie Kerr and Karine Icher reached the 18th green — the scene of this great outdoor party — and conceding each other birdies to get on with the celebration.

That final half-point put Europe in the record books again — 18-10, the biggest blowout since this competition began in 1990.

"It was really fun to see Caroline get her fifth point this week, making some history on the team," Neumann said. "Winning here for the first time, making more history. ... I'm sure we'll go have a drink or two and do some dancing and singing tonight."

The Americans have an 8-5 lead in the series, though this is the first time they have lost back-to-back in the Solheim Cup. The Americans are without the Solheim Cup, the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup, the four biggest team events between both sides of the Atlantic.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon, gracious to the end, could only point to a poor performances on the slick greens — and her team's inability to close. Over the final three-hole stretch, Europe had a 17-10 advantage in holes won.

"The way we played 16, 17 and 18 I think is what really made the difference," Mallon said. "It wasn't for lack of preparation because we played this golf course quite a bit. So it wasn't like a surprise for us. It was just a matter of who dropped the putts on those holes. And unfortunately, it was the Europeans."

And she didn't get much help from her best players.

Stacy Lewis, the highest-ranked American coming off a Women's British Open title at St. Andrews, went 1-2-1 for the week. Paula Creamer was 1-3 and was blown out by a 17-year-old Charley Hull in Sunday singles. Angela Stanford was the other player without a point this week, going 0-4. Cristie Kerr, the most experienced American on the team, went 1-2-1.

Europe's rookies were 12-5-2, with Hull stealing the show. The English teenager showed no fear, at one point asking Neumann, "When am I supposed to be nervous?"