Carlota Ciganda won the point that ensured Europe retained the Solheim Cup on home soil, having won the previous two editions against Team USA; both teams claimed six points apiece in an epic Sunday to ensure a 14-14 draw at Finca Cortesin
Carlota Ciganda produced an unbeaten Solheim Cup on home soil and secured the point to ensure Team Europe retained the trophy with a dramatic 14-14 draw against Team USA.
Europe recovered from a clean sweep in the Friday foursomes to win two and share one of the next three sessions to leave the contest delicately poised at 8-8 heading into the Sunday singles, where the two teams claimed a share of the spoils during a remarkable final day.
Leona Maguire claimed the opening point for Suzann Pettersen’s side by brushing aside Rose Zhang 4&3 and vice-captain Anna Nordqvist also won early against Jennifer Kupcho, only for Team USA to dominate the middle matches to move 13-11 ahead with four matches on the course.
A dramatic Caroline Hedwall comeback against Ally Ewing and Maja Stark’s 2&1 win over US Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz levelled the contest, before a 2&1 victory for Ciganda over Nelly Korda took Europe to 14 points to ensure they would retain the trophy.
Emily Pedersen still had an outside chance to snatch outright victory when she battled back from four down to two down against Lexi Thompson in the final match, only for the American to claim a 2&1 win to avoid a third consecutive defeat for Stacy Lewis’ side.
How Europe retained trophy in special Solheim Cup
The first six holes of Maguire’s match were won with birdies to leave the match tied, only for the Irish star to win the seventh with a par and start her back nine with successive birdies to move three ahead with seven to play.
Zhang reduced the deficit with a birdie at the 12th before Maguire won the next with a par and then drained a 70-foot eagle at the 14th, before a par at the next was enough to claim her third point of the week.
“It was just incredible today,” Maguire said. “The Irish fans this week have just been phenomenal. I knew it was going to be tough. It was going to be a very tough opponent. It was important to get blue on the board early and it’s great.”
Megan Khang produced a sensational up and down from the sand at the par-five last to match Linn Grant’s birdie and claim a 1up victory, while Danielle Kang never trailed in a convincing 4&2 win over Charley Hull that saw USA edge 10-9 ahead.
Nordqvist won three consecutive holes with pars on her front nine and cancelled out a bogey at the eighth by birdieing the 12th to move three ahead, only for Kupcho to claim successive holes from the 13th.
The Swede tidied up from five feet to win the 16th hole and completed victory with a par at the next, seeing her claim a first point of the week, only for the USA to move back ahead when Georgia Hall squandered a two-hole advantage over the final four holes of her match.
Andrea Lee reduced the deficit by birdieing the 15th and then found herself level when Hall missed a close-range par-save attempt at the 17th, with pars leaving them claiming a share of the spoils, while Gemma Dryburgh let a three-hole lead slip away to finish tied with Cheyenne Knight.
Two-time major champion Lilia Vu won each of her first four holes on her way to a convincing 4&3 win over Madelene Sagstrom, while Angel Yin holed a huge penultimate-hole birdie to outlast Celine Boutier 2&1 in a topsy-turvy contest.
Team USA appeared to be closing on a first victory since 2017 when Ally Ewing was 3up over Hedwall with six to play, only for the Swede to win five of the last six holes to snatch a remarkable 2up victory.
Stark’s win over Corpuz levelled the contest, while Ciganda fired her approach at the 16th to tap-in range and birdied the 17th to ensure a 2up victory which sparked wild celebrations from the home crowd.
“I don’t have many feelings right now,” Ciganda said. “I’m so happy just to do this for Suzann and for Spain. I’m just so proud. I’m just so happy. Everyone here is a family. The Spanish crowd is just amazing.”