Carlota Ciganda holed a short putt on hole No. 17 to beat opponent Nelly Korda and give Team Europe the win over the United States in the Solheim Cup on Sunday.
Ciganda, the only Spaniard on the European team, sealed the third straight win for Europe at Finca Cortesin in Andalusia, Spain.
The two teams finished in a 14-14 tie, but as the defending champion, Europe needed just 14 points to win. Team USA would have needed 14 1/2 points to wrestle the title away.
With five first-time Solheim Cup participants, the U.S. was competitive as underdogs.
“For me, the whole week in general feels like a win,” USA team captain Stacy Lewis said. “Just where we were coming from out of Toledo (losing 15-13 in 2021) to where this team is at now, it was a win, and that’s all that matters.
“I think it’s more about these girls, where they are mentally, how they felt about this. They were crying because it meant something to them, and that’s all I was trying to achieve this week.”
Korda and Ciganda were tied after No. 15 but Korda missed a putt on 16 to put Ciganda up by one, and her win on 17 put her up two with one hole to play.
Lexi Thompson, playing behind Korda and Ciganda, defeated Emily Pedersen, also a 2 and 1 victory, to end the Solheim Cup tied at 14.
After the second day of play on Saturday, the United States and Europe were tied 8-8.
“I was sitting there at (the) closing ceremonies next to Mollie (Marcoux Samaan),” Lewis said of the LPGA commissioner. “We were talking about whether it is a tie, should it be a playoff, should it be (to) retain the cup? I don’t know. I mean, it obviously would be better TV. It would be a better experience for the fans if there was a (winner) — whether it was a team playoff or something like that. I think that would be pretty cool.
“But if you want to stick with the history of the event and history of what the men do as well, you probably stick with retaining the cup. I don’t know how I feel about that either way, to be honest.”
Ciganda, 33, credited Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen for a boost of confidence on No. 16.
“The key was when Suzann came to me on 16,” Ciganda told NBC after Europe’s celebration on the course. “She came to me, I saw her and she has told me, ‘You’re made for this. Just go enjoy, play good in front of your nation and just finish it up.’ So I hit two amazing shots.
“I mean Nelly. What am I gonna say? She’s an amazing player. I mean World No. 1 many times, so she’s really good. I’m just very happy that I could beat her to get the point for Europe.”
She said playing the Solheim Cup in her home nation was an “unbelievable” experience.
“It’s in Europe and, obviously, there is nothing like this one,” she said. “… Playing in Spain in front of your home crowd, listening to Spanish songs and listening to my name all the time, it’s been really amazing, very special and this is something that I won’t forget.”
–Field Level Media