The Cup stays here: Americans win third straight Solheim Cup

By Nancy Armour, AP
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Americans retain Solheim Cup

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. — The United States didn’t want to be called the favorites in the Solheim Cup.

Winners has a much better ring to it.

Morgan Pressel delivered the clinching point with her 3-and-2 victory over Anna Nordqvist on Sunday, giving the United States the 14 it needed to retain one of the most coveted titles in women’s golf. After Nordqvist missed an 8-footer she needed to keep the match going, Pressel’s teammates leaped up and started celebrating.

They exchanged hugs and high-fives, and waved their arms to rev up the roaring crowd.

Michelle Wie, whose 3-0-1 record was the best of any American this week, grabbed a U.S. flag and held it high as she ran around with it.

“It’s great,” Pressel said, fighting back tears. “A great feeling.”

Three matches were still being played when the Americans clinched the cup. Christina Kim’s 2-up win over Tania Elosegui gave the Americans 15 points and the outright title.

The Americans came into the Solheim Cup as huge favorites. They had some of the top players in the world while four of Europe’s players were ranked 125th or lower. They’d won the last two Solheim Cups, and had never lost on U.S. soil.

But the teams began the day tied and, midway through the afternoon, Europe actually led in half the matches.

“Get that red on the board, get that red on the board,’ that’s all I was thinking about,” Wie said.

Angela Stanford gave the Americans their first boost, beating Becky Brewerton 5-and-4 to give the United States the first point of the day. But the biggest shift came when Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang turned around matches that appeared to be going in Europe’s win column, scratching out critical halves.

Inkster, at 49 the oldest player and a captain’s pick by Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon, hit a solid shot into 12 feet on the par-3 16th. Then Gwladys Nowcera missed a 6-footer for par on the 17th, squaring it up.

“I had a great time, and I’m glad Beth and Meg thought enough of me to pick me,” said Inkster, who said after the match that this was her last Solheim Cup. “It’s a great ride.”

Davies was 3 up through 15 holes, and went to the 17th knowing the worst she could do was win a half point. But the four-time major champion, benched for the entire day Saturday, closed bogey-bogey.

“The girls have played well,” Europe captain Alison Nicholas said, choking up. “It was good fun, but it’s a disappointment.”

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