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Solheim Cup 2011: Team Europe Beats USA

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Solheim Cup 2011: Team Europe Beats USA
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Sophie Gustafson (left) and Suzann Pettersen celebrate Europe's Solheim Cup victory.

The United States was getting used to winning the Solheim Cup. The past three matches—in 2005, 2007 and 2009—went in favor of Team USA.

But Europe jumped out to a three point lead in Sunday's singles matches and they hung on to win the 2011 Solheim Cup over the US squad, 15-13.

The storylines to begin the day were centered around the weather—which was horrendous—and an injury to USA's Cristie Kerr, which forced the team's final scheduled singles player to withdraw from competition.

Singles matches began in cold, damp conditions with torrential downpours off and on throughout the morning before play was eventually suspended for roughly an hour in the early afternoon and again mid-afternoon. There were actually three separate weather delays.

As for Kerr, she began warming up on the practice range but the tendonitis that had been lingering throughout the week in her right arm was so bad, she was forced to withdraw. Kerr was in tears—both from the pain in her arm and upon realizing she wasn't going to be able to participate.

It brought into discussion Team USA captain Rosie Jones' decision to play Kerr in all four previous matches—especially knowing Kerr was struggling with a bad wrist.

Of course, hindsight is very clear, but if she had known Kerr was struggling with an injury, it would have been wise to rest her in anticipation of her importance on Sunday. On the other hand, Kerr was reportedly not willing to admit to any problems severe enough to keep her out of play on Friday or Saturday.

Ian Walton/Getty Images
USA's Stacy Lewis, Ryann O'Toole and team captain Rosie Jones.

The result was unfortunate for Team USA. It forced them to concede a point to Europe. And coupled with Paula Creamer's early loss to Catriona Matthew, both Team USA anchors had gone down in defeat before any other matches had been decided.

Creamer, previously undefeated in Solheim Cup singles matches, was shockingly steamrolled by Matthew six and five.

Team Europe expanded their lead to 11-to-eight with Sophie Gustafson's two-up win over Stacy Lewis. Then the US team began with a string of consecutive points that gave them the lead by one point.

Brittany Lang dominated Sandra Gal six and five. Morgan Pressel came from behind to beat Anna Nordqvist two and one. Juli Inkster made a brilliant bunker shot at 18 to win the hole and halve her match with Laura Davies. Christina Kim defeated Maria Hjorth four and two. And Vicky Hurst edged Melissa Reid one-up.

Europe tied the match again as Christel Boeljon beat Brittany Lincicome two-up.

That left three matches on the course with Team USA needing 1.5 points to retain the Solheim Cup. But they couldn't hold off Suzann Pettersen and Caroline Hedwall.

Pettersen birdied the final three holes to beat Michelle Wie one-up while Hedwall came from two points back with two holes to play to get All Square in her match with Ryann O'Toole.

US team member Angela Stanford was still on the course in her match with Azahara Munoz, but Hedwall's half point would be all Team Europe would need for the victory.

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