Memorable moments: Creamer crushes it on debut

Paula Creamer has been a lynchpin of the USA team ever since making her sensational Solheim Cup debut in 2005, winning 19.5 points from 31 matches in the red, white and blue.

Such has been her influence on her country’s fortunes, the 32-year-old has been on the winning side five times in seven appearances at the biennial transatlantic matchplay contest.

She was the youngest ever Solheim Cup player in the competition’s history when she made her bow at Crooked Stick 14 years ago - a record since eclipsed by England's Charley Hull.

But those who witnessed her make her mark in Indiana that week will never forget her impressive showing as she produced a nerveless performance to win 3.5 points from five matches.

And as the countdown to the 2019 edition of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles draws ever nearer, we look back at Creamer’s instant impact as the latest entry in our memorable moments series.

FULFILLING HER DESTINY

Creamer started playing golf aged 10 and after a sterling amateur career, she signposted her future matchplay potential by appearing in the 2002 and 2003 Junior Solheim Cups.

Just two years later, Creamer earned her place on the American senior team in her debut season as a professional on the LPGA Tour after winning the Sybase Classic and Evian Masters.

She was one of three rookies on Nancy Lopez’s team, along with Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim,  but Creamer finished the weekend with the best record despite only being 19 at the time.

Creamer was thrown straight into the thick of the action on Friday morning, teaming up with Beth Daniel - the oldest participant - to take on Catriona Matthew and Carin Koch.

The American duo were in dominant form and moved into a 2up lead with four holes to play, only for their European counterparts to win the 15th and 17th to halve the match.

LET

A SENSATIONAL SATURDAY

After picking up half a point in her opening match, Creamer returned for the Friday afternoon fourballs as she joined up with Juli Inkster to face Laura Davies and Suzann Pettersen.

The experienced Europeans proved too good, though, with Davies shooting six under through 15 holes to seal a comfortable 4&3 victory against Creamer and Inkster.

But despite having a so-so start to her debut Solheim Cup, Creamer soon found her footing and rose to the occasion over the next two days, starting with the Saturday morning foursomes.

Reunited with Inkster once again, she gained revenge over Davies - this time paired with Maria Hjorth - as the USA duo clinched a 3&2 triumph with a scintillating display.

Creamer then returned for the afternoon fourballs and found herself three down after three holes alongside Cristie Kerr, before the pair fought back to claim a crucial 1up win.

LET

BOX OFFICE SHOWDOWN

Having holed the winning putt on the 18th on Saturday, it was no surprise to see Creamer trusted with an early position in the Team USA singles line-up on Sunday.

With the overall match perfectly poised at 8-8, the pressure was on and Creamer’s task looked even more formidable when it was revealed she would do battle with Davies again.

But she produced the performance of the week to crush Europe’s most experienced player 7&5, rattling off seven birdies in 13 holes to leave even her captain virtually speechless.

“What can I say about Paula Creamer?" said USA captain Lopez. “I said, ‘You go out there and be the birdie machine you have been all year, and Laura won't be able to touch you’.”

Creamer’s victory made it 3.5 points from her five matches and ensured America wrestled back the trophy with a 15.5-12.5 triumph - securing her place in Solheim Cup folklore.
 

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