LPGA.com counts down to the end of 2011 with the LPGA Tour’s 11 top stories of the year. Join us as we look back at the year’s most memorable milestones. Read about Europe’s dramatic win at the 2011 Solheim Cup in Story No. 3.
Looking Back At Europe’s Captivating Win In 2011 Solheim Cup
Europe regained control of The Solheim Cup for the first time since 2003 with its nail-biting 15-13 victory over the U.S. team at Killeen Castle in Ireland. This year’s biennial event was highlighted by Europe’s strong finish in singles play.
The U.S. Team went into Sunday’s singles with a 69-42-13 advantage over Europe in the singles matches, dating back to the inaugural 1990 Solheim Cup. Eager to change America’s dominance in singles, the Europeans prevailed with a 7-5 singles record this year to win back The Solheim Cup.
It marked the first time the Europeans have won the Solheim Cup since 2003, at Barsebäck Golf and Country Club in Malmo, Sweden. Since the inaugural event in 1990, the U.S. Team has won eight times to Europe’s four victories.
Prior to the start of her singles match, U.S. team member Cristie Kerr was forced to concede her match to Europe’s Karen Stupples, due to a wrist injury. Focus quickly shifted to inclement weather that forced delays, followed by what some describe as the most electrifying final 30 minutes in the history of The Solheim Cup.
On the way to Europe’s historic win, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen recorded three consecutive birdies to close out Michelle Wie with a 1 up victory that swung the momentum to Team Europe.
European Solheim Cup rookie Caroline Hedwall of Sweden then battled back from two down on the 16th hole against fellow rookie Ryann O’Toole of the U.S. team to squeeze out a half point in her match. That set up Spain’s Azahara Munoz, who went to the 18th tee with a 1-up lead over the U.S. team’s Angela Stanford. Munoz clinched the 15th and final point in her match for Team Europe and the 2011 Solheim Cup win.