Spain’s Ciganda the hero as Euros retains Solheim Cup

Spain’s Ciganda the hero as Euros retains Solheim Cup
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Playing in her home country, a flawless Carlota Ciganda authored a perfect finish.

The Spaniard defeated America’s highest-ranked player, Nelly Korda, to give Europe enough points to retain the Solheim Cup.

The two teams tied the Sunday singles session, 6-6, ending the cup knotted, 14-14. Under competition rules, the defending champions (Europe) keep the cup.

It was the first tie in Solheim Cup history, allowing Europe to hold onto the trophy they won in both 2019 and 2021.

Playing at Finca Cortesin in Casares, Spain, Ciganda went 4-0 this week. Her 2-and-1 triumph over Korda clinched the retention.

Here’s how the matches played out, in order of when they concluded, to showcase the overall competition scoring:

Europe 9, U.S. 8

Leona Maguire (EUR) def. Rose Zhang (U.S.), 4 and 3

Maguire continued her Solheim Cup dominance, thwacking Zhang with a brilliant back nine. The Irishwoman, who went 3-2-0 this week, made five birdies and an eagle on the day, turning a 1-up lead at the turn into a 4-and-3 triumph. Maguire’s performance was highlighted by her lengthy eagle putt at the par-4 14th.

Maguire’s victory gave Europe its first lead of the week.

Europe 9, U.S. 9

Megan Khang (U.S.) def. Linn Grant (EUR), 1 up

In the first match out on Sunday, Grant played well, but Khang played better. The American was 2 up through 15 holes before Grant won the 16th with a birdie. The Swede couldn’t get closer, however, as Khang made a pair of brilliant up-and-downs to save par over the final two holes.

U.S. 10, Europe 9

Danielle Kang (U.S.) def. Charley Hull, 4 and 2

Kang took control of this match by winning four holes from Nos. 6-12. Hull, battling a neck injury this week, made only two birdies.

The Kang win, which came moments after the Khang win, put the U.S. back on top.

U.S. 10, Europe 10

Anna Nordqvist (EUR) def. Jennifer Kupcho (U.S.), 2 and 1

Kupcho made three consecutive bogeys, starting at the fifth, to fall 3 down to Nordqvist, who was also serving as a vice captain this week.

Kupcho mounted a mini-rally, cutting her deficit to one hole, but Nodqvist took the 16th with a birdie and closed out the match with a routine par at No. 17. It was the Swede’s first win of the week, while the American finished 0-2-1.

U.S. 10.5, Europe 10.5

Andrea Lee (U.S.) tied Georgia Hall (EUR)

In one of the crucial middle matches, Hall led, 2 up through 14. Lee won the 15th with a birdie and then was gifted a hole at the 17th.

Both players hit shots inside 12 feet at the par 3. Hall went first and ran hers 3 feet past. After Lee failed to convert her birdie effort, Hall badly lipped out for par.

That squared the match, where it finished after both two-putted for par at the last.

U.S. 11.5, Europe 10.5

Lilia Vu (U.S.) def. Madelene Sagstrom (EUR), 4 and 3

Winless over two days, the two-time major champion was on point Sunday. Vu birdied her first four holes and was 5 up through six holes.

Sagstrom picked up a couple of wins around the turn but could never make up the massive ground she lost early.

U.S. 12.5, Europe 10.5

Angel Yin (U.S.) def. Celine Boutier (EUR), 2 and 1

Tied after winning the 13th, Yin drove the par-4 14th and then made the eagle putt to get 1 up.

Boutier rebounded by winning the 15th, but Yin regained the advantage with a birdie at the par-4 16th. She then made a 30-footer to seal the match at the par-3 17th.

U.S. 13, Europe 11

Cheyenne Knight (U.S.) tied Gemma Dryburgh (EUR)

Dryburgh was 3 up through six but made only one birdie over her final 12 holes. Knight didn’t do much, either, but was able to win the 15th and 16th holes with par.

Even with two to play, both parred out for a tie.

U.S. 13, Europe 12

Caroline Hedwall (EUR) def. Ally Ewing (U.S.), 2 up

In an amazing turn of events, Hedwall, the controversial captain’s pick who only played one match (a loss) over the first two days, overcame being 3 down through 12 holes.

Hedwall won Nos. 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18, making four birdies and a conceded eagle on those holes. The shocking reversal kept alive Europe’s hopes for retaining – or outright winning – the cup.

U.S. 13, Europe 13

Maja Stark (EUR) def. Allisen Corpuz (U.S.), 2 and 1

With three matches remaining on the course, Stark, a Solheim Cup rookie, came up big against the U.S. Women’s Open champion.

The Swede never trailed in the match but also never led by more than two holes. With a 1-up advantage at the 17th, Stark made par while Corpuz couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker.

Europe 14, U.S. 13

Carlota Ciganda (EUR) def. Nelly Korda (U.S.), 2 and 1

In a perfectly written script, the Spaniard secured the cup for the home team in her home country.

Ciganda was 3 up through eight holes but lost the next two. Korda evened the match by winning the 15th, where Ciganda reportedly (but never seen) shanked her approach shot and made double bogey.

Korda then stuffed her second shot into the par-4 16th to apply pressure, to which Ciganda responded by hitting it inside Korda’s. The American badly missed her birdie effort, while Ciganda confidently made hers. Ciganda then hit a brilliant shot on the par-3 17th and made the putt to guarantee the Europeans at least a tie, and retention of the cup.

Europe 14, U.S. 14

Lexi Thompson def. Emily K. Pedersen (EUR), 2 and 1

It looked like the Solheim Cup would come down to the final match, with Thompson a chance to be the American hero.

Overcoming an early 2-down deficit, Thompson built a 4-up lead through 14.

Though she lost the 14th and 15th holes – and missed a putt to win the match on No. 16 – Thompson closed out her match with a par at the 17th.

Thompson’s win allowed the U.S. to at least earn a tie, if not the cup.

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