Leona Maguire stars as Europe win Solheim Cup on US soil

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Europe’s Leona Maguire (right) celebrates with her sister Lisa after beating Jennifer Kupcho in the Solheim Cup (David Dermer/AP) (AP)
Europe’s Leona Maguire (right) celebrates with her sister Lisa after beating Jennifer Kupcho in the Solheim Cup (David Dermer/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.

Madelene Sagstrom hits from the rough on the sixth hole during the singles matches at the Solheim Cup (David Dermer/AP) (AP)
Madelene Sagstrom hits from the rough on the sixth hole during the singles matches at the Solheim Cup (David Dermer/AP) (AP)

“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.”

European captain Matthew who also led the team to victory on home soil at Gleneagles in 2019, paid tribute to her players, adding: “Just an amazing team actually. They came out here and performed.

“I’m kind of lost for words actually at the moment.”

Matthew secured the winning point in Europe’s previous win in America in 2013 but added: “I think it’s even sweeter as a captain actually. It’s certainly more nerve-racking watching. It’s all down to the team really, it’s if they play well, so all hats off to them.”

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