Controversy as U.S. battle back to win Solheim Cup

Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:10pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

ST LEON-ROT, Germany (Reuters) - U.S. captain Juli Inkster had urged her players to "stomp on" Europe's golfers and they carried out the instructions to a tee, fighting back to win a hugely controversial Solheim Cup match on Sunday.

The home team went into the last 12 singles holding a 10-6 lead, following unsavory scenes over the non-concession of a short American putt in the fourballs carried over from Saturday, but the U.S. rallied spectacularly to triumph by 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 points.

The Americans were enraged when Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome lost to Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen by two holes on a sunny day at the St Leon-Rot Golf Club in south-west Germany.

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 U.S. 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.   Continued...