When the U.S. Solheim team looks back and tries to figure out what went wrong at the Inverness Club, they can simply boil it all down to two words — Leona Maguire.
Maguire, playing in these matches for the first time, teed it up in all five sessions and went 4-0-1 and it was the young Irish star who put that important first point on the board in the Sunday singles with a 5-and-4 drubbing of American rookie Jennifer Kupcho.
Looking back, the U.S. got in an early hole Saturday morning when it only came up with a half-point in the opening Foursomes (alternate shot) matches. From that point on, it was playing catch-up and the cup was still in range heading into the Sunday singles — Europe led 9-7.
On paper, the U.S. was supposed to be so much stronger in singles — until it wasn’t. Europe got five points in the first seven matches to guarantee it would retain the cup. By day’s end, it was European Emily Pedersen driving the final stake through team USA’s heart with a one-up win over Danielle Kang — final tally: Europe 15, USA 13. In that important singles finale, all the U.S. managed was a 6-6 split.
Catriona Matthew became the first European captain to win back-to-back Solheim Cups.
Team USA has no one to blame but itself. Toledo golf fans turned out in droves at the Inverness Club to support the lackluster Americans — the crowds were loud and with no fans able to come over from Europe, the vocal support was overwhelming in favor of the Americans.
The clincher came from Matilda Castren, who was locked in a tight match with steady, consistent Lizette Salas. At 18, Castren clung to a one-up lead but pulled her second into the left greenside bunker. Castren’s ball was partially buried and it looked like a long-shot at best that she’d save par. She hit an amazing bunker shot that settled eight feet from the hole. Still, a testy putt with so much on the line. But the Solheim rookie poured the right-to-lefter dead in the center — giving Europe it’s 14th point — enough to lock up the cup.
There were still five matches out on the course when Castren wrapped things up. The Americans put up the next four points to get to 13 but Pederson made it an outright win with her victory over Kang, the eight-ranked player in the world.
“Just a superstar,” European captain Mathew said of Castren. “When she made that putt at 18 — we just all kind of exploded.
“Just an amazing team,” Mathew said. “They just came out here and performed, got off to a great start — I’m actually at a loss for words at the moment.”
Open Championship Heads Back To Royal Portrush For 2025:
The 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush was a huge success with Shane Lowry winning the Claret Jug and sharing it with all of Ireland.
The R&A has awarded the 2025 Open Championship to the gem in Northern Ireland.
R&A head honcho Martin Slumbers made the announcement this week.
The 150th anniversary Open Championship will be staged at St. Andrews next July.