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Solheim report cards are in!

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UNITED STATES

Captain Rosie Jones C

Captains are either heroes or goats, that’s just the way it works. Minor tweaks and attention to detail are what decide matches that are this close. Pairing Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford twice in foursomes was a big mistake and not resting Cristie Kerr a session, knowing her wrist was fragile, was another. Playing Paula Creamer all five sessions wasn’t an egregious error. Jones did get a huge boost from oft-criticized pick Ryann O’Toole, who ended with a 2-0-2 record, validating the pick. But bottom line, the Americans had more talent and lost.

Morgan Pressel (4-0-0) A+

Pressel was fuming when she sat the opening session but responded with four consecutive victories and was the MVP for the U.S. She won with three different partners, then was scrappy in singles when she fought back from a 2-down deficit to defeat Anna Nordqvist.

Christina Kim (1-0-1) A

Thought to be one of the weaker players on this U.S. team because she arrived in poor form, Kim stepped up big in her two matches. Kim and Ryann O’Toole found a rhythm in fourballs and Kim drummed Maria Hjorth, 4 and 2, in singles.

Paula Creamer (3-1-1) B+

Creamer was a horse again for the U.S., playing all five matches, but she ran out of gas in singles and played poorly in a 6-and-5 rout by Catriona Matthew. Still, without Creamer, the U.S. wouldn’t have been close going into Sunday. Without her playing well on Sunday, the Americans just didn’t have enough firepower.

Ryann O’Toole (2-0-2) B

An emotional week for O’Toole ended on a major downer as she lost the last two holes in singles with a 2-up lead. Even though she’s disappointed, she never lost a match outright and played four times. Many people believed she would play only twice after having struggled mightily the past month.

Vicky Hurst (1-1-0) B

The captain’s pick didn’t play much and she lost her Friday fourball match, 5 and 4, with Brittany Lincicome but Hurst contributed with three birdies. Although she didn’t play at all on Day 2 she stepped up in singles and beat Melissa Reid, who has won three times on the Ladies European Tour this year.

Brittany Lincicome (2-2-0) C

Lincicome’s record may look like she deserves a better grade but she lost a big singles match to Solheim Cup rookie Christel Boeljon in a place where she should’ve thrived. When Lincicome plays well, she’s tough to beat. When she plays poorly, she loses interest.

Cristie Kerr (2-2-1) C

Kerr should’ve been more honest with Rosie Jones and insist she sit out a session before singles. Playing so much with an injured wrist was bound to catch up with her, and not playing in singles cost her team a point. It would’ve been better to sit a session Saturday and guarantee a Sunday start.

Brittany Lang (1-3-0) C

Lang’s three team matches were disappointing but she was partnered in two of them with Juli Inkster, who did not play well, then paired with Michelle Wie in fourballs when they ran into a hot-putting Laura Davies. She stepped up in singles and won 6 and 5.

Juli Inkster (0-2-1) C

Inkster clearly does not have the stamina she once did and didn’t play well in both foursome matches with Brittany Lang as a partner. But the veteran gutted out a crucial half-point in singles against Laura Davies by winning the 18th hole with a par.

Michelle Wie (1-3-0) C-

It was a strange week for Wie. She and Cristie Kerr won the first match of the Solheim Cup, then she never won again. It's difficult to knock her singles performance, though. She gutted it out but lost to Suzann Pettersen, who closed with three consecutive birdies. Wie birdied two of the last five but it wasn’t enough.

Stacy Lewis (1-3-0) D+

This wasn't the rookie Solheim Cup performance Lewis was looking for. Hand it to her for hanging tight with Sophie Gustafson in a good singles match, but Lewis and Angela Stanford clearly had tension in both of their foursome matches.

Angela Stanford (0-3-0) D

Stanford should’ve been more of a leader in these matches as she has great experience playing on foreign soil for the Solheim Cup. But she and Stacy Lewis were like oil and water in both foursome matches. She could’ve redeemed herself in singles but didn’t and was the only player on either team to leave without gaining a point.


EUROPE

Captain Alison Nicholas A

This is the only grade you can give to a captain of a winning team, isn’t it? Nicholas learned from her captaining mistakes from two years ago and made all the right moves this time. It’s impressive that Europe answered all the questions about being relevant all week. It’s also impressive that the Europeans won even though the Americans had a much deeper team according to the world rankings. Captaining a winning Solheim Cup team for Europe seals Nicholas’ place in history.

Sophie Gustafson (4-0-0) A+

Gustafson was dominant this week and was the only European to earn four points. She had favorable matchups all week but still showed up and was rock solid. Her singles victory over Stacy Lewis was gritty and she was 2 under in nasty conditions.

Suzann Pettersen (3-1-0) A

Would love to give her an A+ but the lone defeat kept that from happening. She will forever be a Solheim Cup legend for making birdies on the last three holes of singles against Michelle Wie to capture the full point in a 1-up victory. Those who have questioned her guts in big moments will never do so again.

Caroline Hedwall (2-1-1) A

Hedwall was one of the clear surprises for Europe. She thrived in her first match with Sophie Gustafson, then went 1-1 on Day 2. But it all comes down to singles, and coming back from 2 down with two holes remaining against Ryann O’Toole to halve the match clinched the Solheim Cup for Europe.

Catriona Matthew (2-0-2) A

Matthew never gets the attention she deserves because of her quiet demeanor but she always delivers. Her Solheim Cup record is now 12-7-6 and she is 5-1 overall in singles. Her dominating performance against Paula Creamer in singles set the tone for the day.

Azahara Munoz (2-1-1) A

The Spaniard stepped up big and you rarely saw her without a smile. Munoz went 1-0-1 with Catriona Matthew as her partner but struggled with Maria Hjorth in fourballs. But her performance in singles was brilliant. She made birdie on the 17th hole against Angela Stanford to guarantee at least a half-point.

Christel Boeljon (1-2-0) B

Boeljon sat all of Day 1 and played well in both her matches on Day 2 but did not get any help from either of her partners. She gets a good grade for her ability to take down Brittany Lincicome in singles. It was a crucial point when momentum was key.

Laura Davies (1-1-1) C

Davies turned back the clock Saturday when she made five birdies in 15 holes to win Europe’s only point of the afternoon. But she’s docked points for failing to win a full point in singles when she had a 1-up advantage over Juli Inkster on the last hole. She made bogey.

Anna Nordqvist (2-2-0) C

Nordqvist played terribly in her opening foursome match when she had a shank and a skull, both finding water. She was 2 up after eight holes against Morgan Pressel in singles, then lost the next five holes. More was expected from her.

Sandra Gal (0-2-1) C-

Gal looked shaky in her first Solheim Cup. Her half-point came while teaming with Catriona Matthew in fourballs, and she lost another fourball match teamed with Christel Boeljon. It was disappointing that she didn’t put up more of a fight in singles against Brittany Lang.

Melissa Reid (1-3-0) C-

She showed promise and the game to be a Solheim Cup player for a long time but the three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour won only one match, which came as a result of Laura Davies’ five birdies in 15 holes in fourballs. Other than that, it was an unspectacular week. She never should’ve lost to Vicky Hurst in singles.

Maria Hjorth (1-3-0) D+

Most of Hjorth’s grade comes from a sloppy singles performance against Christina Kim, who won 6-and-5. The Swede has been a Solheim stalwart in the past but she did not bring her best to Ireland this year. She’s lucky Europe won, too. If not, her singles loss would look more glaring.

Karen Stupples (1-2-0) D

Stupples was excited to redeem herself from a poor Solheim performance in 2005 when she went 0-2. She never got it going and cost Europe a full point Friday morning with a chunked chip shot on 18. Her only point came because Cristie Kerr conceded her singles match.

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