Even before the first ball was struck all the Golf Channel pundits said that Suzann Pettersen was going to be the horse to ride if the Europeans were going to get the Solheim Cup back in their possession.
Pettersen set the tone on the opening day when she made a 15 footer to win the anchor alternate shot match and stifle any early momentum the Americans were trying to build. She followed with two birdies on the final four holes in her afternoon best ball match teamed with Anna Nordqvist to beat Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie and give the Euros a one point lead at the end of the day. After resting the morning session the second day Suzann played an outstanding afternoon four ball making birdie on 16 to square the match against Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr. It took the heroics of Pressel who birdied seventeen and to provide them the 1 up edge that denied Pettersen a perfect record in the competition.
After two days of intense partner competitions with the score tied going into the singles matches, the final day was going to be a doozie. The day started on a bad note for the US team when Cristie Kerr’s ailing wrist kept her from playing her match and the first point of the day was conceded to the Europeans. Things got worse as Paula Creamer, who had been a point making machine for the Americans, played her worst golf of the week and lost 6 and 5 to Catriona Matthew. Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome were struggling as well and it really looked bleak for the Americans.
The weather interceded, forcing multiple interruptions in the day’s play, and the last delay seemed to work in the American’s favor because they came out energized from the Snicker’s break and rode the outstanding play of MVP Morgan Pressel, a couple of rookies in Vicky Hurst and Ryann O’Toole, two unlikelies in Christina Kim and Brittany Lang, and the old war horse, Juli Inkster, to give them a real shot at their fourth consecutive win in this bi-annual competition.
Suzann was not going to have any of that- she saved the best for last in her highly anticipated singles match against Michelle Wie. With only three matches left on the course and the team score tied at 12 1/2 each, the Euros needed a win in this match to give them a realistic shot at bringing home the cup. Down one on sixteen Suzann rendered the first of three memorable fist pumps for the day slam dunking a twenty footer for birdie to square the match.
After both of them hit precise drives into the tight landing area of seventeen, she won the duel of wedges hitting it stiff and making a birdie. To Michelle’s credit she was up to the challenge and buried her own 20 footer to halve the hole and send the match to eighteen as sudden death. With the pressure ratcheting up another notch on eighteen, it was deja vu all over again-Pettersen hit the perfect tee ball and stuffed another wedge in tight to set up the birdie to win this decisive match and bring the Euros within reach of the cup.
Given how well all the rookies played over the three days it seemed appropriate that a Caroline Hedwall and Azahara Munoz cashed in the points in the last two matches to seal the 15 to 13 victory and set off the celebration that will continue well into the night.
Anyone who watched this Solheim Cup has conclude that this is a huge win for women’s golf. They seem to comprehend the concept of team competition much better than the men. There is true camaraderie, a spirit of shared accomplishment, and competitive drama that just cannot be scripted.