Day three at the Solheim Cup is always the best. It’s twelve matches, one-on-one, all day long, with the stakes as high as they can be. Whether it’s this or the Ryder Cup, the singles matches seem to produce way more drama.
This year’s maybe wasn’t the most dramatic of final days ever, but it still produced some drama along the way.
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The day started off with probably the best match up of the day between Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist. The two of them traded punches all day long, the lead went back and forth. You may recall that Thompson and Nordqvist had a very similar duel four years ago in Des Moines, Iowa. It was exactly what was expected from two veteran Solheim players, and like 2017, they also played to a halve.
Lorena Maguire impressed me so much this weekend, playing in her first Solheim Cup. The rookie from Ireland was 4-0-1 in Toledo this weekend, capped off by a shelling of fellow rookie Jennifer Kupcho. Maguire went up 2 after 4 holes and didn’t look back. Kupcho played very well on Saturday and Sunday, but had no answers for Maguire on Monday.
For those of you that have watched the Solheim or Ryder Cups before, you know how the pendulum of momentum swings back and forth multiple times.
Europe came into Monday already with a two point lead, needing only five to retain the Cup. They got off to a great start, but there were times where the USA had chances to come back.
After Nelly Korda had defeated Georgia Hall, Europe was up 12.5-8.5 on the US, needing only 1.5 points to retain, while the USA needed 6.
There was a small window of opportunity the Americans had about 30 minutes after. In that span, Lizette Salas had a chance to tie her match against Matilda Castren, Brittany Altomare, and Jessica Korda had just taken leads, Austin Ernst had a chance to beat Nanna Koertsz Madsen on the 18th, and Megan Khang was closing out Sophia Popov. There could’ve been a 4.5 point swing if everything went perfect, and the USA pulled a rabbit out of their hats.
Unfortunately, most dream scenarios are just that, dreams. Altomare, Korda, and Khang all won their matches, Salas fell to Castren, Ernst missed her putt for the win and halved with Madsen. The window was very narrow, and they just couldn’t fit through it.
The teams split singles matches 6-6, with the Europeans earning a 15-13 win on American soil. I don’t think the Americans have anything to hang their head about, they fought, some younger players like Jennifer Kupcho and Yealimi Noh played really well, and helped earn some points for their team. It’s just much harder when you go down 3.5-0.5 after the first session. They dug themselves a hole that they couldn’t climb out of.
This was the best team that the Europeans had fielded at the Solheim Cup. They showed it in Northwest Ohio over the last three days. It’s the second consecutive Solheim Cup that Europe has won. It also gave the European men a little morale boost ahead of the Ryder Cup.