Europe retained the Solheim Cup in a to-and-fro finale against the United States at Finca Cortesin in Spain, clinching a 14-14 draw on Sunday.
Starting the day tied at 8-8, after two days of foursomes and fourballs, it all came down to an enthralling final day of singles and the teams tied the session with six points each.
Spanish star Carlota Ciganda holed the putt to win her match and secure the 14th point needed to retain the Cup, which meant that Europe claimed an historic three in a row.
Prior to this match, the overall scoreline was 10-7 in America’s favour. Since the contest began in 1990, Europe had never won three competitions in a row. The US team won three in a row in ’94, ’96 and ’98 and repeated the feat again in ’05, ’07 and ’09.
Speaking to Sky Sports, European Captain Suzann Pettersen, who made the winning putt four years ago at Gleneagles, said: “I think the tears have gone now. I think it was meant to be, Carlota holing the winning putt in Spain. Hedwall played her part. It came down to the wire.”
Hedwall was the player who changed the momentum for Europe. Three down after 12, she turned the match around, winning five of the last six holes against Ally Ewing to clinch a crucial point.
Pettersen said: “It’s going to be a big party tonight.” When asked how she would celebrate, she added: “The Spanish way.”
Here’s how the final day unfolded…
Leona Maguire def. Rose Zhang 4&3
Leona Maguire won her singles match against Rose Zhang 4&3 and put the first point on the board for Europe.
In the second singles match, Zhang won the first hole. The first blue on the board appeared after Maguire’s back-to-back birdies put the Irish star 1 up through 3 holes.
The American won the fourth, but Maguire made a long birdie putt to win the fifth and go 1 up again.
Zhang won the par-3 sixth with a birdie and the match was back to all square before Maguire sank a par putt to win the seventh, go 1 up again.
Maguire won the 10th and 11th before Zhang took the 12th, but on the 13th, Zhang found the penalty area short of the green and then took too much club with her approach and was looking at a five.
Maguire chipped to two feet in three and Zhang didn’t threaten the hole so told Maguire to pick up her marker and she was back to 3 up.
On the next, Maguire then holed an enormous eagle putt uphill from 14 paces to go 4 up after 14.
Her par putt on 15 was conceded and Maguire drew first blood for Europe with her point taking the score to 8-9, putting Europe up for the first time.
Maguire said: “Jessica Korda tweeted the other day that I was annoying at match play, so the goal this week was to be as annoying as possible.
“Suzann made it very clear a couple of months ago that I would be playing five [matches] but I think with the energy of this crowd I could have played 10.”
Megan Khang def. Linn Grant 1 up
The first point on the board for the US came courtesy of Megan Khang, who defeated Linn Grant 1 up.
Playing in the first match, Khang won the opening hole thanks to a birdie on the 299-yard par-4 first.
She led throughout the match and although Grant won the seventh and 12th holes, she handed two back at the 10th and 13th.
Grant holed a clutch birdie putt to win the 16th and was just one down, but, at 18, her eagle putt came up just short and Khang made a winning birdie putt from five feet to win 1 up.
Danielle Kang def. Charley Hull 4&2
Kang won the first hole, but Hull tied the match with a par on the third when Kang missed her putt from close range.
Kang won the sixth, eighth and ninth to go three up, and although Hull won the 10th, Kang went back to three in front thanks to a birdie on the 12th. Kang then won the 16th with a birdie for a comfortable 4&2 victory.
Anna Nordqvist def. Jennifer Kupcho 2&1
Tied through three holes, a par on the fifth was good enough for Nordqvist to take the hole and put Europe 1 up. The European vice-captain also won the sixth and seventh to make it three holes in a row and go 3 up. Kupcho won the eighth and 13th and 14th, but Nordqvist won the 12th and 16th to go 2 up.
On the 17th tee, Nordqvist fired her tee shot to the heart of the green and Kupcho mis-hit her iron under pressure. Nordqvist’s putt for the match was conceded resulting in a 2&1 victory for the playing Vice-Captain and taking the scores to 10-10.
Georgia Hall tied with Andrea Lee
In a closely fought match, Hall birdied the first hole to go 1 up. Lee won the sixth, Hall won the seventh and Lee won the eighth to bring the match back to level.
Although Hall won the 12th and 14th holes, Lee won the 15th and Hall missed birdie chances on the 16th and 17th. The match ended in a tie and the score moved to 10.5 each.
Lilia Vu def. Madelene Sagström 4&3
World number two Vu, pointless up until the singles, had a statement to make and she holed a long putt from five yards on the first to go 1 up against Sagström.
She won five of the first six holes with birdies to go 5 up. Sagström fought back to win the eighth and 10th holes, but Vu won the 11th to get back to 4 up. Sagström won the 13th but Vu closed the match on 15.
Angel Yin def. Celine Boutier 2&1
World No. 5 Boutier won the first to go 1 up, but Californian Yin was pumped, winning the second, third and seventh to go 2 up.
Boutier won the eighth, 11th and 12th, but Yin won 13 and 14 to go 1 up. Boutier won the 15th, but Yin won the 16th and 17th to take the point and the overall tally to 12.5-10.5 in favour of the USA.
Gemma Dryburgh tied with Cheyenne Knight
Scottish rookie Dryburgh holed an enormous putt from 20 yards to win the third hole and then took the fifth and sixth to go 3 up.
Dryburgh lost three holes at the eighth, 15th and 16th and suddenly the match was tied heading to 17. Ewing and Dryburgh matched each other’s scores on 17 and 18 and the match ended in a tie, with the overall scores 13-11 in America’s favour.
Caroline Hedwall def. Ally Ewing 2 up
Ewing had the momentum and was 3 up after 12. Three down with six to play, Hedwall won five of the last six holes to turn the match around in dramatic circumstances.
The heroine of the 2013 Solheim Cup holed a monster putt at the 16th to take the match back to all square.
She then holed another perfectly judged birdie putt downhill on the par-3 17th to go 1 up as a path to Europe potentially retaining the trophy opened up.
At the par-5 18th, Hedwall hit her second shot to the heart of the green. Ewing’s second found the bunker and after her third shot, her ball ran over the green and down a bank. Her fourth shot ran well past the hole and she conceded Hedwall’s eagle putt, the Swede winning 2 up.
With the scores at 13-12, Europe needed to win two of the last three matches to retain the trophy.
Maja Stark def. Allisen Corpuz 2&1
The duo tied the first six holes, but Stark won the seventh and 14th to go 2 up.
She lost the 15th after taking three to get out of a bunker and was back to 1 Up but won the 17th after her putt was conceded.
— The Solheim Cup (@TheSolheimCup) September 24, 2023
Carlota Ciganda def. Nelly Korda 2&1
At the 299-yard par-4 first hole, world No. 3 Korda, looking to silence the home crowd, played safe with an iron.
World No. 28 Ciganda’s tee shot at the first with a wood landed on the green and rolled over the back, but her chip to the green ran back down the hill. She made a par putt to tie the hole, but then won the second and third to go 2 up.
Korda won the ninth, 10th and 15th to tie the match. The American missed her birdie putt from five feet on 16 and Ciganda holed hers from three feet to go 1 up.
On the 17th, Ciganda hit the most magnificent tee shot to within four feet of the flag. Korda’s ball ended off the green and her chip narrowly missed the hole. She made her par.
After taking a deep breath, Ciganda made her putt to win her match 2&1 and took Europe to the 14 points needed prompting jubilant scenes on the 17th green.
Of all people, it was the popular Spaniard in front of her home fans which meant that Europe claimed a historic three in a row.
Proud of our team ❤️
We’ll go after it again in 2024. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/eEKaRVvLPT
— Solheim Cup Team USA 🇺🇸 (@SolheimCupUSA) September 24, 2023
Lexi Thompson def. Emily Kristine Pedersen 2&1
In the last match, Pedersen won the first and third holes, but Thompson fought back, winning six holes to get to 4 up, before Pedersen won the 14th with a birdie to be 3 down.
Pedersen then won the 15th with a par after Thompson missed the hole, but 2 up with two to play, Thompson won her match 2&1 for the final score of 14-14.
Main image: LET