Four groups behind
her was Pressel, who had a feeling that she'd be matched with Annika Sorenstam,
the career Solheim Cup points leader. Said Pressel, "I looked at the
[pairings] list. It said, ANNIKA. I was like, 'Wow.'"
Yet Pressel was
not, like, intimidated. The era's most dominant player went 1 up after three
holes, but Pressel squared the match at the 5th and pulled ahead on three
occasions before doing the one thing that no other player could do all
day—birdie the 16th. Pressel won the match 2 and 1 by equaling Sorenstam's par
on 17. "Coming off 15, I saw the leader board and said, 'This is a really
important point, my point,'" said Pressel. "I thought it was going to
be a little more important than it ended up."
From there on the
competition turned into a near rout by the Americans, who would go 8-3-1 in
singles. Twenty-eight-year-old Nicole Castrale, who had already justified her
selection by Betsy King as a rare rookie captain's pick by earning a point
during Friday's four-balls, clinched a tie with Europe, and retention of the
Cup, by beating Bettina Hauert 3 and 2. Fittingly, it was Creamer, the
Americans' workhorse (2-0-3), who secured the winning point. "Paula is four
or five [actually seventh] in the world, and you can see why," said Hjorth
after conceding her match against Creamer on the 17th green. "She doesn't
teammates, who had rushed to 17 from every corner of the course, swarmed her
for a round of hugs. With all the face paintings—some with sparkles— ponytails
and hair ribbons, one could be forgiven for mistaking the moment for the
triumphant conclusion of a collegiate gymnastics meet.
prolonged that illusion with her perfectly executed cartwheel, the song that
they knew they'd eventually hear wafted from distant speakers set up for the
closing ceremonies. No, not David Bowie's Young Americans, which would have
been a nice touch. It was ABBA's Dancing Queen. This was Sweden, after all.
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