Europe staged a magnificent recovery to claim a 14-14 tie with the USA in the Solheim Cup and keep their hands on the prestigious trophy for another year.
Suzann Pettersen’s team lost all four foursome matches on the opening day at the Finca Cortesin Golf Club, Malaga, but clawed their way back into the match to claim the first draw in the competition’s history in its 18th edition.
The rules state that the holders will retain the trophy in such circumstances, but the USA will have only a year to wait before they have another chance to snatch it from Europe’s grasp.
|What||2024 Solheim Cup|
|Where||Robert Trent Jones GC, Gainesville, Virginia|
|When||Friday 13th September - Sunday 15th September, 2024|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Golf|
Europe had won the previous two Solheim Cups and had started the final day on Sunday at 8-8, so both teams needed a total of 14.5 points to claim victory in the match.
The first four matches were split as Leona Maguire claimed a notable victory over American starlet Rose Zhang, and Anna Nordqvist also got the job done for Europe by seeing off Jennifer Kupcho.
However, the Americans had some positive results of their own as Charley Hull - who had finished runner-up in her last two Majors - and Linn Grant were unable to keep pace with Megan Khang and Danielle Kang.
There was then a huge tilt in the momentum of the match as both Georgia Hall and Gemma Dryburgh allowed their leads to slip and had to be content with halves in their games.
That left Europe needing to win three more matches and it was not looking good with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall three down after the opening eight holes of her encounter with Ally Ewing.
But she picked herself up off the floor and fought back to win five of the last six holes to clinch an epic success.
Maja Stark was able to see off Allisen Cortez and it was fitting that Carlota Ciganda got to hole the vital putt.
The Spaniard, who was the favourite of the home crowd all week, claimed her fourth point from as many matches when she fired her tee shot on the 17th to two feet against world number three Nelly Korda.
That putt gave Europe that crucial 14th point, but Lexi Thompson ensured the home side were denied a history-making hat-trick of victories as she beat Emily Pedersen.
With all the disruption to the sporting calendar over the last few years, golf fans will have to wait just one year before the Solheim Cup hostilities are stoked up again.
That will ensure that, unlike this year, the event does not clash with the men’s equivalent, the Ryder Cup, which is due to take place at the Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome, Italy.
This time it will be the Americans’ turn to host and the three-day competition will take place between Friday 13th September and Sunday 15th September 2024 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia.
It will be the first time the Solheim Cup has been held there, but the venue is no stranger to high-profile team events as it has hosted the Presidents’ Cup on four occasions.
Those matches took place in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2005, and the USA beat the International team on all four occasions.
It was also the venue for the Quicken Loans National in 2015, when Troy Merritt claimed his first victory on the PGA Tour.
It has already been confirmed that Pettersen and her American counterpart Stacy Lewis will lead their teams again, but there is different qualification criteria for the European and USA teams.
The top two in the Europe Solheim Cup standings will automatically gain a place in the 12-player team, as will the next six players in the world rankings. Pettersen will then have four picks to complete the line-up.
Lewis will have just three captain’s selections with the top seven in the American Solheim Cup gaining a place, followed by the top two in the world rankings after the qualification period who are not already on that list.