Team Europe have retained the Solheim Cup winning 15 – 13 on American soil.
Europe dominated the 2021 Solheim Cup in front of a raucous American crowd, never relinquishing the lead after taking it in the opening foursomes on Saturday morning.
The final day singles were expected to be a tight contest and while the 15 – 13 final score may appear close, Team Europe looked set for victory for most of the day.
The Solheim Cup may be remembered for the emergence of Irish golfer Leona Maguire on the world stage who claimed 4.5 points from a possible five, but it was a Finnish golfer who put the final nail into the coffin.
Just a few months after securing her LPGA card for next season, Finland’s Matilda Castren’s 1-up victory over American Lizette Salas brought her team to 14 points, the tally needed to keep the Solheim Cup on European soil.
“It’s hard to put it into words right now. I think I’m still shaking,” said Castren.
“I just knew I was looking at the board and I knew it was going to be an important putt, and I wanted to make it. Me and Mikey read it and we read it perfectly and it went in. I’m just so happy right now, and I’m not sure what the final scores are, but I’m just, a lot of emotions right now.”
Sarah Kellam at the LPGA made note that while this victory means the overall Solheim Cup ledger is still in favour of the Americans 10 – 7, this victory was just the second to come in front of opposition crowds.
But this victory was different for many reasons. For starters, it’s just the second time in history that Team Europe has won the Cup on American soil—the only other time coming in 2013 at Colorado Golf Club. Also, the Euros led wire-to-wire never relinquishing their edge over the United States, looking unflappable in the face of the home team advantage. And, instead of a veteran being the hero as was the case with Suzann Pettersen in Scotland, it was a rookie that led the way for the blue and yellow and it was also a rookie that drained the final putt, sealing the deal and returning the Cup to Europe.
The standard of the golf on a spectacular golf course should not be underestimated as The Guardian’s Ewan Murray reported:
Bare statistics belie the story of an exceptional day under the Toledo sun. This should be a watershed moment for women’s golf. What a pity that the Solheim shift to even years does not kick in until 2024. The standard of play at the Inverness Club was genuinely outstanding.
At one stage, Matthew’s players – who needed just four Monday points to retain – were ahead in eight matches. A fierce home response followed. Europe kept their nerve; even rubbing salt into American wounds by winning outright, 15-13.