USA WINS 2017 SOLHEIM CUP OVER EUROPE, 16.5 TO 11.5, FOR LARGEST AMERICAN VICTORY SINCE 1996

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It was a red, white and blue day in West Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday. In a singles session that featured tight battles across the scoreboard, Team USA won five matches and kept the Solheim Cup on U.S. soil with a 16.5 to 11.5 victory over Team Europe. The five-point victory margin is the USA’s largest win since 1996, and it also forever links USA Captain Juli Inkster’s name with the great Judy Rankin as the only women for either side to lead two victorious Solheim Cup Teams.

“I’m just proud of my team,” said Inkster, who previously led the USA to victory in Germany in 2015. “The Europeans fought hard today. They made it really close. I really haven’t been nervous all week. But today I was a little bit nervous. So it’s just an honor to captain this team and I’m really proud of the girls.”

“We just got outplayed, there’s no doubt about it,” said European Captain Annika Sorenstam. “I’m so proud how hard they fought. And it’s not easy coming out here on a Sunday with the team so far behind. But I’m proud of them. They’re out there fighting every single match, every single point. What can I say? Just congratulate the U.S.A. because they played some awesome golf.”

The winning putt came courtesy of California native Lizette Salas, whose 4-foot par putt at No. 18 gave her a 1-up win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff and secured the 14.5 points necessary for the USA to win the Cup. Just earlier, USA rookie Angel Yin halved her match with Karine Icher to ensure that the USA would reach at least 14 points and retain the Cup.

“This is what I work for all year,” said Salas, a three-time Solheim Cup veteran. “Today’s probably the best golf I’ve played all year. To do that in front of my home crowd and to wear the red, white and blue is such an honor. The fact that I made the last putt to secure it is undescribable. I’m still shaking, and just glad I got it done for Team USA.”

Without a doubt, the match of the day, and perhaps one of the finest matches in Solheim Cup history, was the opening battle between World No. 2 Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist. Coming into the week, there was doubt around Nordqvist’s availability after being sidelined for much for July and August with mononucleosis. The five-time European Team member put those fears to bed early on Sunday, birdieing two of the first four holes and quickly building a 4-up lead through nine holes over Thompson, who was struggling with her putter.

At the turn, Thompson received a pep talk from USA Captain Juli Inkster and Assistant Captain Nancy Lopez. The mantra they shared? “Keep your head up.” Those words sparked a fire in the 22-year-old Floridian, who played holes 10-16 at a remarkable 8-under par, including a hole-out eagle from 112 yards at No. 11 and a 25-footer at No. 15 to square the match. She took her first lead at No. 16 with a 12-foot birdie and had a par putt at No. 17 to win the match, but her 5-footer just missed to the right.

“I don’t really know what was going on my first few holes. But I just tried to stay in it,” said Thompson, who finishes 2-0-2 for the USA. “I had nothing to lose going into that back nine and just went for every pin. And hearing the crowds cheer for me definitely helped in between holes as well.”

And as was only appropriate in such a hard-fought match, it all came down to the 18th hole. Thompson stuck her approach from 174 yards to 15 feet and looked in a prime position to clinch victory. But Nordqvist still had life, one-upping Thompson and sticking her ball to 2 feet. Thompson’s putt to win the match just didn’t fall, and the match that defined sportsmanship and a never-give-up attitude ended all square.

“It’s been a great week,” said Nordqvist, who led Europe with an undefeated 3-0-1 record. “It’s been great to be here. There have been so many fans. I had a lot of family here and just very happy. Happy with my game. Pretty exhausted right now, not going to lie. But I feel like we played our hearts out. It’s been a pleasure to play under Annika, and just watched her grow through these last 18 months, it’s been a pleasure to watch.

Cristie Kerr led the USA in points, going 3-0-1 to earn 3.5 points and raise her all-time points tally to 21. That 21-point total is the most by any U.S. player in Solheim Cup history. Catriona Matthew earned 3 points for Europe and has now earned 22 points in her European Team career. Matthew is now third on the all-time points list and Kerr is fourth, behind Laura Davies (25) and Sorenstam (24). Kerr and Matthew also moved up the all-time match victories list, with both players now at 18 career match wins, behind only the 22 apiece for Davies and Sorenstam.

“You play for the person in front of you, you play for the person behind you,” said Kerr. “And it is not about your individual records. It’s for the team. And I mean, it’s amazing how hard you can pull for each other when you have that mentality.”

 SUNDAY SINGLES RESULTS

Anna Nordqvist (EUR) halved with Lexi Thompson (USA)

Paula Creamer (USA) def. Georgia Hall (EUR), 1 up

Cristie Kerr (USA) def. Mel Reid (EUR), 2 and 1

Catriona Matthew (EUR) def. Stacy Lewis (USA), 1 up

Karine Icher (EUR) halved with Angel Yin (USA)

Caroline Masson (EUR) def. Michelle Wie (USA), 4 and 2

Lizette Salas (USA) def. Jodi Ewart Shadoff (EUR), 1 up

Charley Hull (EUR) def. Brittany Lang (USA), 1 up

Carlota Ciganda (EUR) def. Brittany Lincicome (USA), 4 and 3

Gerina Piller (USA) def. Florentyna Parker (EUR), 4 and 2

Madelene Sagstrom (EUR) def. Austin Ernst (USA), 3 and 2

Danielle Kang (USA) def. Emily Pedersen (EUR), 3 and 1

 STATS TO KNOW AFTER SUNDAY AT THE SOLHEIM CUP

The United States successfully defended the Solheim Cup for the fifth time since the event started in 1990.

Every USA player won at least one match in the Solheim Cup. Cristie Kerr had the best American record at 3-0-1.

United States rookies finished with a 6-3-1 record (Danielle Kang, 3-1-0; Austin Ernst, 2-2-0; Angel Yin, 1-0-1).

European rookies finished with a 3-10-0 record (Georgia Hall, 2-3-0; Madelene Sagstrom, 1-2-0; Emily Pedersen, 0-3-0;  Florentyna Parker, 0-2-0).

Twenty-four of the 28 matches ended on the closing holes, which saw the Americans win 12 of them.

Matches ended on the following holes: Hole 13 – 1; Hole 15 – 3; Hole 16 – 6; Hole 17 – 8; Hole 18 – 10

Matches won: United States – 15; Europe – 10; Halved – 3

A VETERAN AND A ROOKIE BRING THE CUP BACK TO THE USA

Lizette Salas calmly rolled in her 2-foot par putt on the 18th hole to defeat Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 1 up, and clinch the Solheim Cup victory for Team USA.

“This is what I work for all year,” Salas said with tears of joy in her eyes. “And today’s probably the best golf I’ve played all year. And to do that in front of my home crowd and to wear the red, white and blue is such an honor. And the fact that I made the last putt to secure it is indescribable. I’m still shaking, and just glad I got it done for Team USA.”

“You never know whether she’s around or not, but every time you look at her, you just want to — just leave her alone because she knows what she needs to do,” added USA Captain Juli Inkster. “She’s not the longest hitter, but she’s a great putter. And you can’t teach heart, and she’s got a ton of heart.”

The win capped off an amazing week for Salas, who went 3-1-0. The daughter of Mexican immigrants spent her early professional career driving around the country with her father, Ramon, and even sleeping in that beat-up truck to save money. Ramon did odd jobs around Azusa Greens Country Club, where he worked as a mechanic, in exchange for his daughter’s childhood golf lessons. The entire Salas clan, including mother Martha, was waiting just off the green to embrace their beloved daughter as she lives their American dream.

Just before Salas, Angel Yin halved with Karine Icher to guarantee that Team USA would retain the Solheim Cup.

“Pretty amazing, I have to say,” Yin said. “It’s very different. I’ve never seen this many people in the crowd before.”

The long-hitting 18-year-old, who is in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, was impressive in her Solheim Cup debut, going 1-1-1. Yin, who spent 2016 on the Ladies European Tour, made the leap to the USA Solheim Cup Team after playing on the victorious USA Junior Solheim Cup team in 2015.

“It’s been pretty amazing,” Yin said of her Solheim experience. “I made a lot of friends. I know the more of the American players, which is good. And the top players, too. Because as a rookie you don’t really get to meet them. I’ve learned a lot from them.”

AUNT BRITTANY

Brittany Lang’s brother and long-time caddie, Luke, left the bag in someone else’s hands on Sunday in order to get to his wife, former pro Kathleen Ekey, to witness the birth of their first child. The older brother reported back that everyone is happy and healthy, including the newest girl in the family, Taylor.

“My brother, who caddied for me for 12 years, left this morning to go be with his wife,” Lang said after her singles match. “And one of our good friends, great caddie, John Killeen, caddied for me. It was so awesome. I’m so happy for my brother. I am so glad he was there to witness it. Everybody’s healthy, doing great, and can’t wait to go see little Taylor.”

 2017 SOLHEIM CUP PLAYERS RECORDS – TEAM USA

Paula Creamer – 3-1-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Austin Ernst, lost to Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall, 3 and 1
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Austin Ernst, 5-and-3 win over Mel Reid and Emily Pedersen
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Austin Ernst, 2-and-1 win over Karine Icher and Madelene Sagstrom
  • Sunday singles, 1-up win over Georgia Hall

Austin Ernst – 2-2-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Paula Creamer, lost to Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall, 3 and 1
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Paula Creamer, 5-and-3 win over Mel Reid and Emily Pedersen
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Paula Creamer, 2-and-1 win over Karine Icher and Madelene Sagstrom
  • Sunday singles, lost to Madelene Sagstrom, 3 and 2

Danielle Kang – 3-1-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Lizette Salas, 1-up win over Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Michelle Wie, 3-and-1 win over Madelene Sagstrom and Jodi Ewart Shadoff
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Michelle Wie, lost to Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher, 2 and 1
  • Sunday singles, 3-and-1 win over Emily Pedersen

Cristie Kerr – 3-0-1

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Lexi Thompson, halved with Mel Reid and Charley Hull
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Lexi Thompson, 5-and-3 win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Lexi Thompson, 4-and-2 win over Catriona Matthew and Georgia Hall
  • Sunday singles, 2-and-1 win over Mel Reid

Stacy Lewis – 1-3-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Gerina Piller, lost to Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew, 1 up
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Gerina Piller, 2-and-1 win over Charley Hull and Georgia Hall
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Gerina Piller, lost to Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall, 2 and 1
  • Sunday singles, lost to Catriona Matthew, 1 up

Brittany Lang – 2-1-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Brittany Lincicome, 3-and-2 win over Florentyna Parker and Caroline Masson
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Brittany Lincicome, 2-up win over Mel Reid and Carlota Ciganda
  • Sunday singles, lost to Charley Hull, 1 up

Brittany Lincicome – 2-1-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Brittany Lang, 3-and-2 win over Florentyna Parker and Caroline Masson
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Brittany Lang, 2-up win over Mel Reid and Carlota Ciganda
  • Sunday singles, lost to Carlota Ciganda, 4 and 3

Gerina Piller – 2-2-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Stacy Lewis, lost to Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew, 1 up
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Stacy Lewis, 2-and-1 win over Charley Hull and Georgia Hall
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Stacy Lewis, lost to Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall, 2 and 1
  • Sunday singles, 4-and-2 win over Florentyna Parker

Lizette Salas – 3-1-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Danielle Kang, 1-up win over Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Angel Yin, 6-and-5 win over Carlota Ciganda and Emily Pedersen
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Angel Yin, lost to Anna Nordqvist and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 4 and 2
  • Sunday singles, 1-up win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff (Cup-winning point)

Lexi Thompson – 2-0-2

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Cristie Kerr, halved with Mel Reid and Charley Hull
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Cristie Kerr, 5-and-3 win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Cristie Kerr, 4-and-2 win over Catriona Matthew and Georgia Hall
  • Sunday singles, halved with Anna Nordqvist

Michelle Wie – 1-2-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Danielle Kang, 3-and-1 win over Madelene Sagstrom and Jodi Ewart Shadoff
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Danielle Kang, lost to Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher, 3 and 1
  • Sunday singles, lost to Caroline Masson, 4 and 2

Angel Yin – 1-1-1

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Lizette Salas, 6-and-5 win over Carlota Ciganda and Emily Pedersen
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Lizette Salas, lost to Anna Nordqvist and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 4 and 2
  • Sunday singles, halved with Karine Icher (Cup-clinching point)

2017 SOLHEIM CUP PLAYERS RECORDS – TEAM EUROPE

Carlota Ciganda – 1-3-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Caroline Masson, lost to Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas, 1 up
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Emily Pedersen, lost to Angel Yin and Lizette Salas, 6 and 5
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Mel Reid, lost to Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome, 2 up
  • Sunday singles, 4-and-3 win over Brittany Lincicome

Georgia Hall – 2-3-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Anna Nordqvist, 3-and-1 win over Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Charley Hull, lost to Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, 2 and 1
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Anna Nordqvist, 2-and-1 win over Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Catriona Matthew, lost to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, 4 and 2
  • Sunday singles, lost to Paula Creamer, 1 up

Charley Hull – 1-1-1

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Mel Reid, halved with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Georgia Hall, lost to Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, 2 and 1
  • Sunday singles, 1-up win over Brittany Lang

Karine Icher – 2-1-1

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Catriona Matthew, 1-up win over Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Catriona Matthew, 2-and-1 win over Danielle Kang and Michelle Wie
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Madelene Sagstrom, lost to Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, 2 and 1
  • Sunday singles, halved with Angel Yin

Caroline Masson – 1-3-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Carlota Ciganda, lost to Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas, 1 up
  • Friday four-ball, paired with Florentyna Parker, lost to Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang, 3 and 2
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Jodi Ewart Shadoff, lost to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, 5 and 3
  • Sunday singles, 4-and-2 win over Michelle Wie

Catriona Matthew – 3-1-0

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Karine Icher, 1-up win over Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Karine Icher, 2-and-1 win over Danielle Kang and Michelle Wie
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Georgia Hall, lost to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, 4 and 2
  • Sunday singles, 1-up win over Stacy Lewis

Anna Nordqvist – 3-0-1

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Georgia Hall, 3-and-1 win over Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Georgia Hall, 2-and-1 win over Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 4-and-2 win over Lizette Salas and Angel Yin
  • Sunday singles, halved with Lexi Thompson

Florentyna Parker – 0-2-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Caroline Masson, lost to Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang, 3 and 2
  • Sunday singles, lost to Gerina Piller, 4 and 2

Emily Pedersen – 0-3-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Carlota Ciganda, lost to Angel Yin and Lizette Salas, 6 and 5
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Mel Reid, lost to Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, 5 and 3
  • Sunday singles, lost to Danielle Kang, 3 and 1

Mel Reid – 0-3-1

  • Friday foursomes, paired with Charley Hull, halved with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Emily Pedersen, lost to Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, 5 and 3
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Carlota Ciganda, lost to Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome, 2 up
  • Sunday singles, lost to Cristie Kerr, 2 and 1

Madelene Sagstrom – 1-2-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Jodi Ewart Shadoff, lost to Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang, 3 and 1
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Karine Icher, lost to Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, 2 and 1
  • Sunday singles, 3-and-2 win over Austin Ernst

Jodi Ewart Shadoff – 1-3-0

  • Friday four-ball, paired with Madelene Sagstrom, lost to Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang, 3 and 1
  • Saturday foursomes, paired with Caroline Masson, lost to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, 5 and 3
  • Saturday four-ball, paired with Anna Nordqvist, 4-and-2 win over Lizette Salas and Angel Yin
  • Sunday singles, lost to Lizette Salas, 1 up
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About Author

Glen Turk is a Wisconsin native who has been the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine since 2006. Besides being an avid golfer, Glen enjoys traveling, music, and cheering on the finest professional sports team of all-time, the Green Bay Packers. Glen’s ultimate golf goal is to play in all fifty states and currently he is more than half way there. His other dream, albeit far-fetched, it to record an ace in all seven states of our distribution area. Thanks to an ace in Illinois in 2015, and one in Michigan in 2016, he has three down, four to go!

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