U.S. retains Solheim Cup, 16 1/2 to 11 1/2

The United States fought off an early rally by Europe in Sunday singles and retained the Solheim Cup with a 16½ to 11½ victory at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The U.S. took a 10-5 lead in the Solheim Cup series as Juli Inkster, whose team rallied for an unlikely victory two years ago in Germany, became the second American captain to win the biennial event back-to-back, joining Judy Rankin (1996-98).

“I’m so proud of my team,” said Inkster, from Los Altos and San Jose State. “Europe fought hard and made it close for a while today, so I was a little nervous for the first time this week, but we came back.

“It’s an honor to coach this team. We played for each other and it’s amazing how we played.”

Angel Yin, the 18-year-old rookie from Arcadia, guaranteed the U.S. would at least retain the Cup with a 14-14 tie when she halved her match with Karine Icher of France, and Lizette Salas of Azusa and USC put the Americans over the top with a 1-up victory over Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Yin, who teamed well with Salas in the doubles events. “I’ve never seen this many people, but I was never nervous, just more excited.”

Said Salas: “To secure the final point to win the Solheim Cup is pretty special. I’m still shaking. It says a lot for the way 12 girls from around the country came together, and put on the Red, White and Blue to achieve this.”

Paula Creamer, who gave the U.S. its winning point in Germany, defeated Georgia Hall of England, 1 up, Cristie Kerr beat Mel Reid of England, 2 and 1, Gerina Piller downed Florentyna Parker of England, 4 and 2, and Danielle Kang of Westlake Village and Pepperdine got past Emily Pederson of Denmark, 3 and 1.

Catriona Matthew, 47, of Scotland beat Stacy Lewis, 1 up, Caroline Masson of Germany downed Michelle Wie of Stanford, 4 and 2, Charley Hull of England got past Brittany Lang, 1 up, Carlota Ciganda of Spain bested Brittany Lincicome, 4 and 3, and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden defeated Austin Ernst, 3 and 2.

In perhaps the most exciting match of the day, Lexi Thompson fell 4 down to Anna Nordqvist of Sweden after four holes and still faced that deficit starting the back nine, but pulled even by winning four of the next six holes.

However, Nordqvist salvaged a halve with a birdie on the last hole.

“We just got outplayed, there’s no doubt about it,” Euro Captain Annika Sorenstam of Sweden said. “But I’m so proud of my team because they fought for every point in every match. Just congratulate the U.S.A. because they played some awesome golf.”

The 16th Solheim Cup will be played at Gleneagles Resort in Scotland on Sept. 13-15, 2019.

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