ST LEON-ROT, Germany (Reuters) - European captain Carin Koch sympathized with the distraught Alison Lee but was convinced the rookie American made a mistake in believing her short putt had been conceded at the Solheim Cup on Sunday.
Controversy erupted when Lee and Brittany Lincicome lost their fourball match carried over from Saturday night by two holes to Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen at the St Leon-Rot club in south-west Germany.
With the contest all square, the 20-year-old rookie believed her 16-inch putt on the 17th green 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.
“We all feel bad for Alison,” Koch told reporters after her team led 10-6 going into the 12 singles matches, needing four more points to retain the trophy at the women’s version of the Ryder Cup.
”She made a mistake in the rules of golf...it’s very unfortunate. We don’t want things like that to happen.
“We had a rules meeting and we clearly stated that you have to concede a putt very clearly and she didn’t go with the rule,” added Koch.
“Suzann and Charley would not have given them the putt because it went by far enough that they would have made them putt it.”
Lee and Hull were both in tears when the match eventually finished on the 18th green.
The American youngster later said that she thought the Europeans had conceded her putt.
”I thought I heard it was ‘good’,“ Lee explained. ”Charley was walking off the green and Suzann was already off the green so there was no doubt in my mind that the putt was ‘good’.
“I didn’t even think twice about it. I just picked it up. Now I know I have to double check and make sure,” said Lee.
“I guess it’s a lesson learned. From now on I just double check and look at them straight in the eye so I can confirm it.”
Lincicome said U.S. skipper Juli Inkster had used the incident to try to rally her team to come fighting back in the singles matches.
”Every time she gives a speech now it’s very motivational,“ added Lincicome. ”She’s pumping us up big.
“To walk on them, stomp on them, and give them all we’ve got.”
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty