Gleneagles' magnificent match play memories

Matchplay drama will once again grace the fairways of the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in September when Europe and the USA go head-to-head for Solheim Cup glory.

The biennial transatlantic battle will see the world’s best women golfers follow in the footsteps of the men five years before them when the same venue hosted the Ryder Cup.

On that occasion in 2014, Paul McGinley’s troops made the most of home advantage as they reigned supreme to defend the trophy against an American side led by Tom Watson.

Catriona Matthew will now be hoping her team can replicate Europe’s 16.5-11.5 success on the course in Auchterarder and win the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2013.

And as excitement builds towards the 16th edition of the event – the pinnacle of women’s golf – here’s some of the best moments from that Ryder Cup to whet your appetite. 

MCILROY AND GARCIA ROAR

What appeared on the surface to be a dream pairing for Europe got off to an inauspicious start as Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy lost their Friday morning fourballs contest.

The European duo lost two of the last three holes as they went down to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, but Paul McGinley put his faith in them once again for the afternoon foursomes.

His trust initially appeared to be misplaced as they soon found themselves in trouble against Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, only for McIlroy to hole a 40-foot putt to take the game to the 18th.

Garcia then crashed a five wood out of the rough over 200 yards to the green to set up a brilliant birdie, which would see them halve the match against the odds in spectacular style.

ROSE ON THE BIRDIE TRAIN

In what was arguably the greatest fourball performance in the competition’s history, Justin Rose claimed his third point from three outings alongside Henrik Stenson on Saturday morning.

The American duo of Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar had struck three of their own birdies between the third and the sixth holes to go 2-up on their European counterparts.

But Rose and Stenson then began the fightback, reeling off nine successive birdies between them as they prevailed 3&2 with a combined score of 12 under for a new Ryder Cup record.

Their feat was even more impressive considering Watson and Kuchar were also playing well, finishing on the losing side despite shooting nine under between them.

MAHAN EAGLES PAR FOUR

The USA pairing of Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan were in great form in their fourball clash against Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson.

They birdied each of the first three holes and never looked back, with Westwood and Donaldson failing to win a hole as they were comprehensively beaten 4&3.

But the highlight of the round came at the drivable Par 4 14th, where Mahan reached the green 320 yards away with one of the shots of the day to give himself a chance at eagle.

And while Westwood had already bagged a birdie for himself and Donaldson, Mahan rolled in his putt for a brilliant two to put the match out of the reach of the Europeans.

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS AGAIN

Ian Poulter’s status as a Ryder Cup legend had already been forged two years earlier at Medinah, where the Englishman won all four of his matches in the stunning European triumph.

His start in 2014 was less spectacular though, losing his opening match in the fourballs on Friday 5&4 alongside Steven Gallacher to Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

He then sat out the afternoon foursomes, before being called back into action with Rory McIlroy for the fourballs on Saturday – a decision that turned out to be a masterstroke from McGinley.

The Postman delivered a double-fisted air punch celebration after chipping in from 50 yards on the 15th as the European duo halved their match against Walker and Fowler.

NERVELESS PRINCE OF PONTYPRIDD

With a 10-6 lead going into the singles on Sunday, the hosts were in a strong position to retain the trophy and were given a further boost by wins for Graeme McDowell and McIlroy.

Martin Kaymer added another blue point to the leaderboard by beating Watson, while Rose continued his impressive week by halving his match with Mahan.

It was then a case of when victory would be secured and who would be the man to do it, with Jamie Donaldson quickly establishing himself as the front-runner against Bradley.

The Pontypridd native was four up against his American opponent before unleashing a perfect drive at the 15th. A stunning nine iron to two feet followed, forcing Bradley to concede victory.

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