Solheim Cup match-by-match results

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2015, 2:15 pm

Here is a look at how each match played out in the 14th Solheim Cup at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in St. Leon-Rot, Germany:

U.S. 14 1/2, Europe 13 1/2

Singles: U.S. 8 1/2, Europe 3 1/2

• Lexi Thompson (U.S.) vs. Carlota Ciganda, halved: Both made three birdies in the round and both made bogey on the last hole to provide the proper result. Ciganda missed a 5-footer on the last.

• Morgan Pressel (U.S.) def. Catriona Matthew, 1 up: A great back-and-forth match between two gritty, veteran match-play players. Pressel made six birdies and it was Matthew’s first loss of the week.

• Karine Icher (EUR) def. Brittany Lincicome, 3 and 2: Icher played well, Lincicome played like she was emotionally spent from the controversy in her morning match with Lee against Pettersen and Hull. Lincicome goes 0-4 for the week.

• Melissa Reid (EUR) def. Brittany Lang, 2 and 1: Another solid match with a lot of great shots. Lang birdied the 16th to move only 1 down but Reid made a clutch birdie from 15 feet on 17 to win.

• Alison Lee (U.S.) def. Gwladys Nocera, 3 and 1: The U.S. rookie finally collected her first point of the Solheim Cup and did so with calm, cool, collected play considering how her morning fourball match ended.

• Gerina Piller (U.S.) def. Caroline Masson, 1 up: Piller made the most clutch up and down of her life on the 18th hole to keep U.S. hopes alive. If she missed, Europe would’ve retained the cup. But she made a 10-footer to save par and earn the full point.

• Anna Nordqvist (EUR) def. Stacy Lewis, 2 and 1: A solid match but Lewis didn’t have her best stuff and Nordqvist was way too consistent. At the time Europe only needed another half point to retain the cup.

• Lizette Salas (U.S.) def. Azahara Munoz, 3 and 1: Salas poured it on in the end and birdied four of the last six holes and took control of the match. At this point, it became clear the U.S. will stage the epic comeback.

• Angela Stanford (U.S.) def. Suzann Pettersen, 2 and 1: Stanford’s Solheim Cup record was 3-13-3 and she hadn’t won in her last nine cup matches. But she slayed the villain in Pettersen (17th hole controversy) for the biggest moment of her golf life.

• Cristie Kerr (U.S.) def. Charley Hull, 3 and 2: Kerr putted like a demon and ended the week with a 3-0-1. She made eight birdies in a nine-hole stretch and kept Hull (4-1) from going perfect on the week.

• Michelle Wie (U.S.) def. Caroline Hedwall, 6 and 4: Wie absolutely demolished Hedwall to keep the American momentum. It was Wie’s first point of the week and she made eight birdies in 14 holes in singles.

• Paula Creamer (U.S.) def. Sandra Gal, 4 and 3: It all came down to the last match but Creamer had this one safely in control and earned the final point to complete the epic comeback from a 10-6 deficit.

Overall score: Europe 10, U.S. 6

Day 2 fourballs (U.S. 2, Europe 2)

Lexi Thompson-Cristie Kerr (U.S.) def. Azahara Munoz-Carlota Ciganda, 3 and 2: Thompson and Kerr played well, but, oddly, the Europeans had no firepower and only made three birdies combined. The American duo is now 2-0-1 this week.

Stacy Lewis-Gerina Puller (U.S.) def. Caroline Masson-Caroline Hedwall, 1 up: Hedwall missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would've squared the match. Frankly, the Americans played so much better in this match and Lewis finally found her rhythm. It’s surprising the Americans didn't win this match more easily.

Karine Icher-Catriona Matthew (EUR) def. Lizette Salas-Brittany Lang, 2 and 1: The Americans seemed out of sort when they returned Sunday to finish the match and both made bogey on the par-5 16th hole. Europe won this one fairly easily. 

Suzann Pettersen-Charley Hull (EUR) def. Alison Lee-Brittany Lincicome, 2 up: Fireworks everywhere. Alison Lee missed a birdie putt on 17 by 16 inches and scooped up the putt. Moments later Pettersen claimed that she did not concede the putt and chaos ensued. Ultimately Europe was awarded the hole, then won the match with par on the last. Controversy.

Day 2 foursomes (Europe 3, U.S. 1)

• Melissa Reid-Carlota Ciganda (EUR) def. Alison Lee-Michelle Wie, 4 and 3: Europe was 4 up after seven holes and completely demolished the spirit of the Americans. Wie just has not found her form this week. Reid now has won all three of her matches.

• Charley Hull-Suzann Pettersen (EUR) def. Paula Creamer-Morgan Pressel, 1 up: Hands down, the most amazing match of the week. Americas were 4 up after 11 holes and on cruise control. But Europe hung in there and birdied each of the last four holes to steal the match outright.

• Sandra Gal-Catriona Matthew (EUR) def. Angela Stanford-Brittany Lincicome, 1 up: Europe won the first hole and never trailed it the match but it was extremely close down the stretch and Europe made a clutch up and down on the last hole to win the full point.

• Stacy Lewis-Gerina Piller (U.S.) def. Anna Nordqvist-Caroline Hedwall, 5 and 4: After struggling to find herself a regular partner Lewis finally has done so. Piller was terrific and made putts all over Germany. They gelled well and thrived.

Day 1 fourballs (Europe 3, U.S. 1)

• Anna Nordqvist-Caroline Hedwall (EUR) def. Morgan Pressel-Paula Creamer (U.S.), 4 and 3: This was the Nordqvist show. She birdied seven of the first 13 holes and the other three players, including her own partner Hedwall, were completely insignificant.

• Charley Hull-Gwladys Nocera (EUR) def. Alison Lee-Angela Stanford (U.S.), 3 and 2: Hull made seven birdies and the 19-year-old already has a 4-1 cup career record after winning both of her matches on Friday. Stanford is now 3-12-3 in her Solheim career.

• Cristie Kerr-Lexi Thompson (U.S.) vs. Melissa Reid-Carlotta Ciganda (EUR), halved: The Americans were 2 up after 15 holes and Europe won the 16th and 17th holes to square the match before stopping because of darkness. Ciganda holed a shot from the middle of the fairway on 17 for eagle. When they returned Reid and Thompson both made birdies on 18 to halve the match.

• Gerina Piller-Brittany Lang (U.S.) vs. Caroline Masson-Sandra Gal (EUR), halved: Europe was 1 up at the break but Piller made birdie on 16 and 17 when they returned to move the Americans 1 up. But Gal hit it to 3 feet on the last hole and Europe squeaked out a crucial half point.

Day 1 foursomes (U.S. 2, Europe 2)

• Morgan Pressel-Paula Creamer (U.S.) def. Anna Nordqvist-Suzann Pettersen, 3 and 2: Juli Inkster went all-in sending Creamer out first with Pressel. The match was all square after six holes then the Americans won four of the next seven holes to collect the first point of the Solheim Cup. 

• Charley Hull-Melissa Reid (EUR) def. Michelle Wie-Brittany Lincicome (U.S.), 2 and 1: This match-up of big hitters was close but it wasn’t particularly great golf. It was all square after 13 holes, but a late American bogey coupled with a European birdie on 17 ended it.

• Cristie Kerr-Lexi Thompson (U.S.) def. Karine Icher-Azahara Munoz (EUR), 2 and 1: The Americans missed a putt to go 5 up in the match and then lost three consecutive holes to only hold a 1-up advantage after 15. It got tight quick, but Europe ran out of holes.

• Sandra Gal-Catriona Matthew (EUR) def. Stacy Lewis-Lizette Salas (U.S.), 3 and 2: The German crowd got behind their hometown Gal and the Americans played poorly most of the day, particularly with the putter. Lewis now moves to an astounding 2-6-1 in her Solheim Cup career.

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McIlroy gets back on track

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

He is well ahead of schedule.

Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

“Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

“I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

Everything in his life is lined up.

Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.