Leona Maguire plays starring role as Europe retain Solheim Cup

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 (AP)
(AP)

Ireland’s Leona Maguire played a starring role as Europe claimed just their second Solheim Cup victory on US soil at Inverness Club in Toledo.

Maguire’s singles victory over Jennifer Kupcho gave her four and a half points from five matches on her debut in the biennial contest - a record for a rookie on either side - and provided the ideal springboard for a hard-fought success.

Victories for Madelene Sagstrom and Celine Boutier edged Catriona Matthew’s side closer to their target of 14 points to retain the trophy, before wins for world number one Nelly Korda, Brittany Altomare and Megan Khang kept the contest alive.

It fell to Finnish rookie Matilda Castren to make a nerveless par save on the 18th to beat Lizette Salas and make sure the trophy would return across the Atlantic, with Emily Pedersen then guaranteeing half a point from the bottom match to ensure outright victory.

Maguire eagled the second and birdied the fourth, sixth and seventh to take command of her match against fellow unbeaten rookie Kupcho and duly completed a comprehensive win

The 26-year-old told Sky Sports: “The goal was to get my point, that’s all I can do. I’ve given it my absolute all this week, I couldn’t have given anything more. I couldn’t have asked for a better week.”

Sagstrom put another point on the board for Europe with a 3 and 2 victory over Ally Ewing, a highly welcome win following a controversial incident involving the pair on Saturday.

Ewing was partnering Korda when the latter’s eagle putt on the 13th hole narrowly failed to drop, with Sagstrom quickly picking up the ball and conceding the birdie.

The Swede was deemed to have acted too quickly as the ball was adjudged to be hanging over the hole, with Korda credited with the eagle and the American pair going on to win the match on the 18th.

“It’s been a great week,” Sagstrom said. “The team has obviously done amazing. I haven’t really contributed until today.

“I was saying on the range this morning, hold on a second, I need to be myself. I need to be myself out there. I can’t play somebody else’s game, I can’t be somebody else’s character. I need to be myself, and I really found that today. I grinded hard.

“Ally put up a really good fight, so we had a really solid game going, and I’m really proud of myself.”

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