North BERWICK’S Catriona Matthew thumped Paula Creamer 6 and 5 and helped Europe regain the Solheim Cup with a thrilling 15-13 victory over the USA at Killeen Castle in Ireland.
It was a day packed with drama including rain delays and a shock pull out from injured American Cristie Kerr – and the result eventually hinged on the final three matches.
At that stage the score was tied at 12½-12½ and the last three matches favoured the USA – but then the board became swathed in European blue.
It was Azahara Munoz, Matthew’s young foursomes partner and one of five European rookies, who had the honour of clinching the vital point in the final match with a one hole win over Angela Stanford.
In the second last match, Caroline Hedwall, yet another rookie, was two down with two to play against Ryann O’Toole, but won the last two holes for a vital half point.
Suzann Pettersen, the world No. 2 and European number one, had started the great fightback against the equally feisty Michelle Wie. One down with three to play, the Norwegian birdied the final three holes for a final green triumph. It was all stunning stuff.
Tied 8-all overnight, the oh so reliable Matthew was sent out in the first match. She knew what she had to do – beat Creamer, who is one of the Americans’ biggest names, put blue on the board and start the momentum swing. The 42-year-old Scot rose to the pressure in magnificent fashion. She made a monster putt for a two at the second, won the third and fourth and was four up by the time she eagled the long seventh.
Creamer had never been beaten in three previous singles and had taken 3½ points from her fist four outings in this, her fourth Solheim Cup.
But Matthew also had a great singles record, with five out of six wins and she ended this Solheim unbeaten, racking up three points from four starts. It was another huge career moment for the player who had clinched Europe’s last win at Barseback in Sweden in 2003. “When I saw the draw last night I knew I had it tough,” admitted Matthew. “But I’d been told I’d been out first for a reason and I knew that meant I had to win.
“In the conditions I was really just trying to make pars and birdies were a bonus. I was well in front after seven and then the rain came. I’m delighted to win. It’s so good for Europe to win again. It was important for the event.”