Report cards: 2021 European Solheim Cup team

TOLEDO, Ohio – Europe won for just the second time on American soil, defeating the home team, 15-13, at the 17th Solheim Cup.

Here’s a look back on how the victorious players performed at Inverness Club with a subjective grade attached (click here for U.S. Solheim Cup team report cards).

Emily K. Pedersen: A

Solheim Cup record: 3-1-0

Why the grade? What a 180 from her cup debut in 2017, when an 0-3 record sent her into a career tailspin. The Dane teamed three times with Charley Hull to go 2-1. She then built a 3-up lead on Danielle Kang in singles and closed her out with a birdie at the last to give Europe its final point. By at least securing a half-point against Kang, Pedersen assured the Europeans of winning the cup outright.


Georgia Hall: C+

Solheim Cup record: 1-2-1

Why the grade? Hall and Celine Boutier won all three of their team matches in 2019, but after a tie in the opening foursomes session, which was gifted to them, the two were split for the remainder of the contest. Hall went 1-1-1 with three different partners, each match going to the 18th hole. Her singles match went to the final hole as well, where she fell to world No. 1 Nelly Korda, 1 up. It easily could have been an individual ‘A’ week for Hall, but she’ll take the team victory.


Anna Nordqvist: A

Solheim Cup record: 2-1-1

Why the grade? The seven-time cup veteran helped carry rookie Matilda Castren to a 2-1 team record. In the leadoff singles match against Lexi Thompson, Nordqvist stymied any hope of an early run by the Americans. The Swede was 1 down at the turn and missed a few hole-winning putts on the back nine, but did enough to get a tie in a match the Americans needed to win.

With little support, aside from each other, the Europeans won for the second time on American soil at the Solheim Cup.

Sophia Popov: D

Solheim Cup record: 0-3-0

Why the grade? The German never appeared comfortable on the course in her Solheim debut. After losing both her fourball matches, Popov lost decisively to Megan Khang in singles. The match wasn’t as close as its 3-and-2 final margin as Popov was six down through the first eight holes.


Charley Hull: B-

Solheim Cup record: 2-2-0

Why the grade? Hull quietly gave the European two points, going 2-1 alongside Pedersen and then losing her singles match to Jessica Korda, 3 and 1. Only 25 years old, Hull already has 12 1/2 career points in the Solheim Cup. Laura Davies holds the record with 25 points, the most on either side.


Carlota Ciganda: C-

Solheim Cup record: 1-2-0

Why the grade? It was a disappointing Solheim Cup for Ciganda, record wise. Making her fifth appearance, she went 1-1 in fourballs, didn’t play foursomes and lost what could have been a critical singles match to Brittany Altomare, 2 and 1.


Leona Maguire: A+

Solheim Cup record: 4-0-1

Why the grade? A rookie, you say? The 26-year-old from Ireland was the only player on either side to play all five matches, and she didn’t lose one. Maguire was brilliant from start to finish, teaming three times with Mel Reid and once with Hall. She then dominated former collegiate rival Jennifer Kupcho in singles, 5 and 4. As U.S. captain Pat Hurst said on Monday night, “She’s the one we’re going to have to fear … for a long time.”


Madelene Sagstrom: B-

Solheim Cup record: 1-2-0

Why the grade? It could have been a forgettable on-course experience for the rookie, had it not been for Monday. Sagstrom was involved in the lone controversy of the week when she prematurely (according to rules officials) picked up Nelly Korda’s ball in Saturday’s fourballs. Her team lost the match and Sagstrom had to deal with fans – some at Inverness, others on social media – wallowing in her misery. But after losing both team matches, she won a huge point in singles, making five birdies from hole Nos. 8-16 to defeat Ally Ewing, 3 and 2. in the second match out. That alone is worth a letter-grade boost.


Matilda Castren: A

Solheim Cup record: 3-1-0

Why the grade? It certainly helps to be paired with Nordqvist three times, but when the Finnish rookie was left on her own, she delivered. Castren secured the full point needed in order for Europe to retain the Solheim Cup, doing so with an incredible up and down from the greenside bunker at No. 18, from a buried lie. 


Nanna Koerstz Madsen: B-

Solheim Cup record: 1-1-1

Why the grade? It was a solid week for the Dane, who earned a win in Sunday afternoon fourballs, alongside Ciganda, and then tied her singles match with Austin Ernst. Captain Matthew had to be pleased with what she got from one of her rookie picks.


Mel Reid: B

Solheim Cup record: 2-1-1

Why the grade? Reid and Maguire proved to be an unbeatable team, going 2-0-1 together. But she continued to be a head-scratcher in singles. She moved to 1-3 in the individual Solheim session after losing to Yealimi Noh. Reid lost her first four holes on Monday and couldn’t recover, falling, 1 up.


Celine Boutier: C+

Solheim Cup record: 1-1-1

Why the grade? Boutier was a perfect 4-0 two years ago but didn’t get her first win until the final sessions this time around. After she and Popov lost their Sunday fourball match to Noh and Mina Harigae, Boutier shutout the latter in singles. The Frenchwoman won five holes and Harigae none, as Boutier cruised, 5 and 4.


Catriona Matthew: A+

Captain

Why the grade? Not much needs to be written to justify this grade. She pushed all the right buttons once again, becoming the first two-time European Solheim Cup captain. She’ll go out on top, too, as she said there won’t be a third stint. For all the talk of this being Europe’s best-ever team, Matthew may be its best-ever captain.



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