Monday, August 13, 2018

U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

"I was just, like, 'I just have to go all in and go for it all,' " Thompson said.

Her teammates followed her lead and the Americans finished off their most decisive Solheim Cup victory in more than 20 years, beating Europe 161/2-111/2 on Sunday at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Thompson halved Anna Nordqvist after trailing by four holes, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer won key matches, and Gerina Piller sealed it with a birdie putt that put her 3 up over Florentyna Parker with three to play in a 4-and-2 victory.

"They just bonded. They believed in each other. They played for the person behind them and in front of them. And they played some amazing golf," said Juli Inkster, who joined Judy Rankin as the only U.S. captains to win the Solheim Cup twice.

The Americans are 10-5 in the biennial tournament after their biggest win since a 17-11 triumph in 1996 in Wales. They have taken five of the past seven matches.

Kerr beat Mel Reid 2 and 1 for her record-extending 21st point in the competition, and Creamer edged Georgia Hall 1 up to raise her total to 191/2, second on the U.S. career list.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome lost to Carlota Ciganda 4 and 3 as the teams split the 12 singles matches.

Her team five points down entering the day, European captain Annika Sorenstam tried to keep the mood light by dressing up in a blue and yellow Viking hat and wig and dancing for the cameras before play began.

"We just got outplayed, no doubt about it," Sorenstam said. "I'm just so proud of how hard they fought. What can I say? Just congratulate the USA because they played some awesome golf."

Nordqvist did her best to set the tone for the Europeans in the opening match, winning the first four holes.

But after a birdie on No. 10, Thompson holed out from 112 yards for eagle on the 11th hole, a shot so impressive that even Nordqvist was compelled to high-five her.

Thompson followed with an eagle putt on the 15th hole, and a birdie on 16 put her ahead for the first time. Though Nordqvist rallied, earning the half-point by sticking her 154-yard approach on No. 18 within a foot, an American win was inevitable after Thompson's run.

"To me, that was like six points," Inkster said. "It's probably fitting they both got half a point. Both played amazingly. It just shows the heart of (Thompson) and her determination. You think she's out of it, and then the switch goes off."

Nordqvist said she was speechless and "completely exhausted" at the end.

Thompson called it "the weirdest round of golf I've ever played."

"Front nine, I don't think I was awake," she said. "And the back nine I just played lights out."

PGA: Henrik Stenson won the Wyndham Championship, closing with 6-under 64 for a one-stroke victory in the final event of the PGA Tour regular season at Greensboro, N.C. Stenson, the third-round leader, finished at 22-under 258 at Sedgefield Country Club, breaking the course's 72-hole record set by Carl Pettersson in 2008 and matched last year by Si Woo Kim. Ollie Schniederjans (64) was second.

Champions: Scott McCarron birdied the final three holes for a one-stroke win at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y. McCarron, the second-round co-leader, shot 8-under 64 for a 20-under 196 total. Second-round co-leader Kevin Sutherland (65) was second.