(Reuters) - Europe completed a record-breaking Solheim Cup victory on Sunday when they blew away the United States in an 18-10 triumph to retain the trophy they won two years ago in Ireland.
The victory was Europe’s first in the United States and also set a new mark for biggest margin of victory, topping Europe’s 17.5-10.5 rout of the Americans in 2003.
Needing only 3.5 points to retain the Cup for the first time, the Europeans instead made a statement by seizing 7.5 points during Sunday’s closing singles at Colorado Golf Club.
Swede Caroline Hedwall became the first player to win five matches in Solheim Cup history and appropriately clinched the victory when she hit an approach shot within a few feet to defeat Michelle Wie 1-up.
“I am so proud of my team,” Europe captain Liselotte Neumann, also Swedish, told reporters.
“Caroline really stepped up to the plate, winning five which has never been done.”
A weather delay due to lightning in the area postponed what was a European coronation late in the day in Parker, Colorado, but it could not prevent the inevitable.
The record margin of victory was sealed in the day’s final match when Frenchwoman Karine Icher fought back from a late deficit to earn a half-point against Cristie Kerr.
It was another bitter moment for Kerr after she and Icher were involved in a heated 30-minute dispute on Saturday over a ball drop in the fourballs.
The European team, which featured six rookies, maintained the momentum they established when they grabbed a 10.5-5.5 advantage following Saturday’s matches.
Briton Charley Hull, at 17 the youngest player in the event’s history, showed poise and few nerves during a strong performance, easily dispatching Paula Creamer 5 and 4.
“I didn’t feel nervous,” Hull said. “I am not going to die if I hit a bad shot. So I just hit it, find it, and hit it again.”
No team had ever rallied from more than two points behind to win the trophy and the U.S., captained by 18-time LPGA Tour winner Meg Mallon, failed to fire as they suffered a second straight loss in the event.
“This one is completely different. We just got outplayed,” said British Open champion and world number two Stacy Lewis, who finished with a record of 1-2-1.
Wie, a high-profile captain’s pick, picked up two points over the week but it never looked like being enough to keep her team in the 13th version of the biennial competition.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney