US victory raises profile of Solheim Cup and women’s golf

The Solheim Cup was more than a victory for the United States over Europe. It also proved that women’s golf was worth watching.

Golf watchers from both sides of the Atlantic hailed the event as it provided riveting theatre, drama and great shots from both sides.

The US won the tournament 16-12 for their third straight victory but the Europeans gave them a major fright and, at one time, appeared to be the dominant side.

The clamour was most evident at the golf course itself – Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

From the practice rounds to the tournament proper, the crowds were there yelling, supporting and sharing in the excitement. One would have thought Tiger Woods was playing.

US veteran Juli Inkster said she hopes the tournament would help boost the popularity of the LPGA Tour. She said:

“I just think if more people could come out and actually watch us play – I’ve been out here, as you guys (the media) know, a long time, and I’ve never seen the golf that these women play now. We have a great product, and the more people see that and write about it, it’ll be great for us.”

One of the most positive things to come out of the tournament, from a US point of view, was Michelle Wie’s performance.

The 19-year-old former child star, who has been under tremendous pressure since she showed phenomenal talent at 13, led the way, collecting a 3-0-1 record.

Also performing well were Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel, both under 25 years old, giving the LPGA Tour young talent who have the ability to shine for a long time.

Going into Sunday’s singles, the score was 8-8. Even during the early exchanges of the singles, it appeared that the Europeans had the advantage.

The Americans fought back, though. Pressel eventually sealed the winning 14th point for the US when she beat Anna Nordqvist, of Sweden, three and two to ensure they maintained their unbeaten home record.

The US were captained by Beth Daniel while Alison Nicholas led the Europeans.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Ryan Moore won his first US PGA Tour title when he defeated Kevin Stadler in a play-off to capture the Wyndham Championship.

After firing five consecutive birdies on the back nine, Moore closed with five-under 65 for a total of 264 for the tournament to force a play-off with Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler.

Bohn was the star of the round after his final round of 62 but he was first to go in the play-offs when he found the greenside bunker on the first extra hole.

Two holes later, Stadler’s approach trailed off the green and Moore sunk a par putt to claim victory.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who was also in the mix to win, finished one stroke behind the leaders after his 70 while Kevin Sutherland, Fred Couples, Michael Allen, Brandt Snedeker and Justin Rose were tied for fifth on 266.

On the European Tour, it was déjà vu for England’s Simon Dyson as he won the KLM Open in Holland.

It was a similar victory to his 2006 triumph, both times sinking an 18-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to win.

This time, however, he needed to beat two rivals – Peter Lawrie and Sweden’s Peter Hedblom.

Before that, Dyson equaled the course record with a seven-under-par 63 to finish at 15-under-par 265 to force the play-off.

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