Europe wins Solheim Cup after thriller at Inverness

Solheim Cup Europe 2021

The Solheim Cup is staying in Europe.

Catriona Matthew's side has successfully defended the trophy they won in dramatic circumstances at Gleneagles in 2019 after yet another thrilling singles shoot-out.

Leading 9-7 going into the final session at Inverness Golf Club in Ohio, Matthew's charges needed only five points of the 12 available points to deny Pat Hurst's US side. 

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Leona Maguire set them on their way with a 5&4 takedown of Jennifer Kupcho. It completed a near-perfect week for the Irish rookie, who secured four-and-a-half points from a possible five - the best return by a rookie in the history of the contest. 

Madelene Sagstrom took down Ally Ewing 3&2 and, when French ace Celine Boutier thrashed Mina Harigae 5&4 and Women's Open champion Anna Nordqvist took half a point from Lexi Thompson in the top match, it appeared as though a big win was on the cards. 

However, the Americans - backed by a vocal, partisan crowd - fought back.

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First, Nelly Korda defeated Georgia Hall one-up. After Austin Ernst claimed a half-point in her match with Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Megan Khang and an inspired Brittany Altomare claimed two more points for the home side, taking down Sophia Popov and Carlota Ciganda respectively.

However, Finnish rookie Matilda Castren showed nerves of steel in her match with Lizette Salas, getting up and down from a greenside bunker to save par and secure the decisive 14th point for Europe. 

Jessica Korda and Yealimi Noh added two more points for the US to reduce the score to 14-13 but, with European No.1 Emily Kristine Pedersen dormie against Danielle Kang, the half-point required to win the match outright was guaranteed. 

It was subsequently delivered on the 18th green when Pedersen converted a birdie putt to win one-up and complete a 15-13 victory. 

Afterwards, a delighted captain Matthew - who has ruled out a third stint as captain - lavished praise on her team. 

"Two years ago at Gleneagles was fantastic but this time, in America, we were up against it," she said. "The Americans were a fantastic team this year. They played had but we just perhaps holed a few more putts and were lucky we came out on top. 

"We've been one big team and we've loved every moment of it. It was dream come true stuff, quite honestly."

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