United States regain Solheim Cup after controversial final day in Germany
Europe hammered in the singles as chance of three-in-a-row slips away in Germany
Suzann Pettersen explains to Europe captain Carin Koch the length of the putt that was not conceded to America’s Alison Lee on the 17th hole during the conclusion of the fourball matches at The Solheim Cup at St Leon-Rot Golf Club in Germany. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
The home team went into the last 12 singles holding a 10-6 lead, following unsavoury scenes over the non-concession of a short American putt in the fourballs carried over from Saturday, but USA rallied spectacularly to triumph by 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 points.
With their morning fourballs all square, rookie Lee, 20, mistakenly believed her 16-inch putt at the 17th had been conceded by the European pair and when she scooped the ball up, the match referee had no choice but to award the hole to Hull and Pettersen.
The incident evoked memories of the infamous men’s Ryder Cup encounter at Brookline in 1999 when Europe hit out after members of the home side celebrated Justin Leonard sinking a long-range effort by trampling all over the line of his opponent Jose Maria Olazabal’s putt.
Hull and experienced Norwegian Pettersen, who was the target of most of the US anger, went on to win the 18th hole as well but the 19-year-old Englishwoman was in tears on the green after the fourballs contest finished, as was a distraught Lee.
Lincicome said Inkster used Sunday’s events to rally her team, adding the skipper had implored the players to “walk on them, stomp on them, and give them all we’ve got”.
It was the second successive morning that there had been friction between the sides. On Saturday, Inkster and counterpart Carin Koch were involved in a heated exchange out on the course over allegations that one of the Swede’s vice-captains had contravened the rules by giving direct advice to one of the European players.
Europe, who won the biennial team event in 2011 and 2013, had chances to get to 14 points and retain the trophy with Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson both missing makeable putts to get them over the line in the singles.