PARKER, Colo. — Karine Icher put an emphatic end to a stunning shutout that put Europe on the verge of its first Solheim Cup win in America.
Icher rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt from just off the back of the 18th green Saturday afternoon as she and Beatriz Recari hung on for a 1-up win, giving Europe its first sweep of a Solheim Cup session in 11 years.
By winning all the fourball matches in the afternoon, Europe led 10½-5½, matching the largest lead in Solheim Cup history. With only the 12 singles matches remaining Sunday, Europe only needs to win three matches and halve another to capture the cup away from home for the first time since this event began in 1990.
It also would be the first time Europe retained the cup.
Icher’s putt was the final blow on a day filled with them for the Americans. Anna Nordqvist closed out a foursomes match in the morning with a hole-in-one on the 17th hole. And after the Americans thought they had momentum from a strong showing in foursomes, Europe came out firing with a pair of rookies.
Charley Hull, the 17-year-old from England and youngest player in Solheim Cup history, hit a 9-iron just over the bunker to 4 feet on the par-3 17th with her match all square. She finally felt nervous, and drained the putt for a 1-up lead. Jodi Ewart-Shadoff did the rest, smashing a tee shot some 30 yards by Lexi Thompson that left her only a 9-iron into the green. The birdie putt was conceded for a 2-up win over Thompson and Paula Creamer.
Caroline Hedwall, the only player to go all four matches, teamed with Caroline Masson to beat Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda. The Spanish tandem of Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz beat Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller, leaving the American duo winless for the week.
It was a devastating end for the Americans, hopeful of at least getting a halve from that final match.
No team has ever rallied from more than two points behind to win the Solheim Cup.
“Obviously, it was a very disappointing afternoon,” U.S. captain Meg Mallon said. “We have our work cut out for us tomorrow. It can be done. It’s daunting right now but it can be done.”