Europe rolls to Solheim Cup victory

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 19, 2013 at 2:48 am •  Published: August 19, 2013
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PARKER, Colo. (AP) — Europe never looked more at home at the Solheim Cup.

Especially on the greens.

From the 45-foot putt that 17-year-old Charley Hull rolled in to re-ignite the momentum Sunday to the 4-foot tester Caroline Hedwall sank to end what little drama was left, the Europeans owned Colorado Golf Club.

Led by Hull, the youngest player to suit up at the Solheim Cup, and Hedwall, the first player to go 5-0 at this event, Europe romped to a record-setting 18-10 victory over the Americans and won the cup on U.S. soil for the first time since the event began in 1990.

"We took it to them," Europe's Suzann Pettersen said, "and they couldn't answer."

This was a wire-to-wire victory, the likes of which very few saw coming.

America had more top-20 players (5 to 3), more major-title winners (5 to 3) and more Solheim Cup experience (25 years to 17) to say nothing of more success over the history of this team event (8 victories to 4).

But Europe took the lead Friday, took an even firmer grasp of it with a sweep in the best-ball matches Saturday, then closed it out by winning five of 12 matches Sunday and earning half-points in five more.

A lightning delay of about an hour put off the inevitable, but when the weather cleared, Hedwall returned to the 17th tee box, tied with Michelle Wie, and didn't miss a beat.

She halved that hole, then stuck her approach on 18 using a 9-iron from 150 yards out. She celebrated the putt that gave Europe its clinching 14th point with an uppercut into the air. A handful of her teammates, already off the course, ran to congratulate her.

A bit 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. Within moments, the Europeans were in a full-throated rendition of "We Are the Champions."

This is the first time they've defended the cup, which they won two years ago in Ireland. Their eight-point victory was the largest in the history of the event.

"In sports you just cannot always predict what's going to happen," American Cristie Kerr said.

The course was hand-picked by the Americans and captain Meg Mallon brought her team to Colorado a handful of times in the months leading up to the tournament to get used to the undulations in the huge greens that are subtly influenced by the Rocky Mountains to the West. With wide, almost-unmissable fairways, this was a three-day chipping and putting contest and the United States lost badly, especially in the closing stretches.

On Sunday alone, the U.S. saw leads turn into ties or losses over the final three holes in five matches.

"The way we played 16, 17 and 18 I think is really what 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 it was a surprise for us, it was just a matter of who dropped the putts on those holes and unfortunately it was the Europeans."

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