As the pinnacle of women’s golf, the Solheim Cup has produced many incredible moments over the years as the best players from Europe and the USA have gone head-to-head for glory.
From Laura Davies’ masterclass in 1992 and Michelle Wie’s sensational debut in 2009 to Charley Hull’s nerveless, history-making display in 2013 – drama and the Solheim Cup go hand in hand.
The biennial transatlantic battle will now return to the Scotland – the Home of Golf – for the first time since 2000 this year when the two sides resume their rivalry at Gleneagles.
And ahead of the 15th edition, we’re going to look back at some of the flashes of brilliance that have graced the competition over the years, starting with a duel for the ages in 2017.
Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson were sent out first by their respective captains in the singles, with Europe needing to get off to quick start after trailing 10.5-5.5 after the first two days.
What followed was a topsy-turvy encounter which will always be remembered as one of the greatest matchplay contests the Solheim Cup has ever seen in its storied history.
FAST NORDQVIST START
Nordqvist had been Europe’s best player over the foursomes and fourballs, winning three out of three of her matches going into the final day’s play in Des Moines.
Unsurprisingly, visiting captain Annika Sörenstam sent the Swede out first in the singles, frontloading her line-up as Europe looked to close a five-point deficit against the Americans.
And Nordqvist lived up to her billing on the front nine as she raced into an early lead after Thompson – also unbeaten in three matches – missed a near-gimmie putt on the opening hole.
The USA star went on to lose the opening four holes as Nordqvist rolled in four consecutive birdies, with Thompson’s sole birdie leaving her four down to her rival at the turn.
The world No. 2’s putting, in particular, was letting her down as she three-putted the third and USA captain Juli Inkster even appeared on the fourth fairway to give her words of encouragement.
But despite her winning the fifth hole, no one anticipated Thompson’s remarkable recovery on the back nine as the momentum of the match shifted dramatically in her favour.
THOMPSON FIGHTS BACK
After Nordqvist restored her four-up lead on the ninth, Thompson ignited her comeback with her second birdie of the day at the 10th before producing a moment of magic at the next.
Thompson holed her wedge approach from the fairway on the 11th for a stunning eagle three and suddenly, Nordqvist’s lead was just two, although she restored calm with a half on 12.
It was only a brief respite for the Swede though as Thompson birdied the 13th with another accurate approach shot to close the gap to one down before the pair shared the 14th with birdies.
A second eagle followed for Thompson on the 15th after she drained a monster putt to level the match and she took the lead for the first time with another birdie on 16.
Thompson now seemed destined for victory after shooting eight-under through seven holes and took a 1-up lead down the last after the two players both bogeyed the 17th hole.
But there was one final twist. Nordqvist hit a stunning approach to the final hole and tapped in for birdie from five feet to ensure she halved the match with Thompson.
“To me, that was like six points,” said USA captain Inkster after the match. “It was probably fittingly they both got half a point—they both played amazing.”