Throwing back to Scotland's last Solheim Cup

Scotland will once again provide the battleground for the Solheim Cup in September when Europe and America face off for glory in the biennial transatlantic matchplay contest.

Considered the pinnacle of women’s golf, the 16th edition of the event promises to be one of the highlights of the world’s sporting calendar this year when it touches down in Gleneagles.

The PGA Centenary Course will host the best players from Europe and America five years on from holding the Ryder Cup, which saw Paul McGinley’s Europeans seal a famous triumph in Perthshire.

But while the course itself has only recently welcomed world-class competition to its fairways, it will be the first time the Solheim Cup has been played in Scotland since 2000.

That year saw Dale Reid’s European side conquer Team USA at Loch Lomond Golf Club and with the latest contest fast approaching, here’s a throwback to that memorable win on home soil.

LIGHTNING FAST START

Having lost the last three Solheim Cups (1994, 1996, 1998), it was pivotal Europe got off to a quick start in Dunbartonshire against Pat Bradley’s American troops.

And they did just that as Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas led by example with a dominant 4&3 win against the USA pairing of Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper in the morning foursomes.

It paved the way for a remarkable session from the hosts, which saw Europe complete the clean sweep with four wins from four matches to race into a commanding lead.

But America responded in the afternoon foursomes, cutting the deficit when Davies and Nicholas found themselves on the end of a 6&5 defeat to Rosie Jones and Becky Iverson.

Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst also prevailed for the Americans, while Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer halved their match to drag the overall score back to 5.5-2.5 in Europe’s favour.

EUROPEAN FOURBALL SUCCESS

In a change to the format as we know it today, the two sessions of foursomes on the Friday were followed by one session of fourballs on Saturday featuring all 12 players.

But just as they had done a day earlier, Europe took command from the opening match as Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson defeated Jones and Iverson 3&2.

That victory was followed by another European point on the board from Nicholas and Helen Alfredsson, who dispatched American rivals Inkster and Steinhauer by the same margin.

Catrin Nilsmark and Carin Koch then joined forces to make it three points from the opening three fourball contests for Europe, beating Nancy Scranton and Michele Redman.

America did managed to win the final match thanks to Robbins and Hurst, while the other two matches were halved, but they found themselves trailing 9.5-4.5 going into the singles.

USA REVIVAL COMES UP SHORT

With such a comfortable lead going into Sunday’s singles, and needing just four points to secure victory, it seemed a case of not if, but when they would regain the Solheim Cup trophy.

Yet, having not triumphed since 1992, the pressure began to show on Reid’s European charges as they took just two points from the first eight singles matches at Loch Lomond.

Inkster and Brandie Burton got the USA off to a dream start with two comfortable victories, before Alfredsson got Europe on the board with a 4&3 success against Beth Daniel.

Pepper and Robbins overcame Johnson and Davies, respectively, before Liselotte Neumann and Nicholas stemmed the red tide by earning halves in their matches on the final hole.

Iverson and Meg Mallon levelled the scores with their wins but Nilsmark survived a nervy finish to beat Jones and Koch got Europe over the line with victory against Redman.
 

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