US win Solheim Cup by largest margin since 1996

Cristie Kerr led the US with 31/2 points, raising her all-time points tally to 21, the most by any American in Solheim Cup history.
Cristie Kerr led the US with 31/2 points, raising her all-time points tally to 21, the most by any American in Solheim Cup history.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DES MOINES (Iowa) • It would be easy to launch into a scathing appraisal of Europe's display at the 15th Solheim Cup but the truth is that they were simply outclassed.

Inspired by partisan fans in Des Moines, Iowa, the Americans were in imperious form, delivering match after match for their captain, Juli Inkster, and recording their biggest victory over Europe in two decades on Sunday - 161/2 to 111/2.

The US improved their record to 10-5 in the biennial golf event that started in 1990, and are 7-1 at home.

Strong favourites coming into the event, the Americans raised their game when it mattered most, with the Europeans - in particular rookies Florentyna Parker, Madelene Sagstrom and Emily Pedersen - wilting under the early pressure.

Cristie Kerr, the 39-year-old playing in her ninth Solheim Cup, extended her all-time points tally to 21, the most by any American in the history of the tournament.

As the hosts struck blow after blow in Saturday's four-balls the Europeans responded with 34 birdies and an eagle and still lost 3-1.

"It was just nerve-racking. I felt like I had no control over anything," Inkster said after guiding her team to a second consecutive victory.

"We just played a little better. I think we were a little deeper. I played everybody at least three times. And I think that really helps for the confidence of the team."

In mitigation, Europe missed the formidable presence of the pugnacious Norwegian Suzann Pettersen, who withdrew with a back injury, and Charley Hull was a shadow of herself, struggling with a wrist injury that saw her miss Saturday's matches.

Catriona Matthew, the 47-year-old Scot who swopped her vice-captaincy role with Pettersen, showed resilience, combining with Karine Icher to pick up two points in the foursomes. Eager to lead Europe at Gleneagles in 2019, she remains a valued player with captain Annika Sorenstam quipping: "She's like a bottle of wine and just gets better and better."

The most obvious failing in Europe is their lack of strength in depth. Georgia Hall and Parker qualified through the Ladies European Tour points list having barely played five tournaments while the captain's picks, Sagstrom and Pedersen, are LPGA Tour rookies.

"We just got outplayed," Sorenstam said.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline 'US win Solheim Cup by largest margin since 1996'. Print Edition | Subscribe