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Spain's Carlotta Ciganda (centre) celebrates Europe's triumph at the Solheim Cup with her caddie and captain Suzann Pettersen

Photo: A.Carrasco Ragel / EPA

Europe's best female golfers have defended the title in the continental comparison with the USA. At the 18th edition of the Solheim Cup, the Europeans beat the US team 14-14 on Sunday at the Finca Cortesín Golf Club on Spain's Costa del Sol. A draw was enough for the defending champions to keep the cup. For the Europeans, it is the eighth triumph in the prestigious continental comparison, for the first time the third in a row.

And the finale turned out to be more exciting than it has been for a long time. Both teams had started with a tie of 8:8 points in the twelve singles on the final day. The decisive point for the defending champions was scored by Carlota Ciganda in her match against US superstar Nelly Korda. With three holes to go, the Spaniard was tied with Korda, 13:13. The European team needed a single point to secure a draw and thus the trophy.

Korda had fought his way back from a three-stroke deficit and equalized the game with a par on the 15th hole. On the 16th hole, a par-4, Korda attempted a short par putt and missed. Ciganda made her putt and took the lead with one stroke with two holes to go. Then Korda almost managed a long birdie putt on the last hole, but she was content with par. In front of many Spaniards, Ciganda holed her putt and then threw away her putter jubilantly.

"I'm just so happy that I did it for Suzann [editor's note: Pettersen, captain] and for Spain. Everyone here is like family. The Spanish crowd is just incredible," said Ciganda after the triumph.

Next Solheim Cup as early as next year

The American Lexi Thompson defeated the Dane Emily K. Pedersen in the last game and equalized to 14:14. It was another disappointment for the U.S. team, who had taken a 4-0 lead on Friday after winning all four four-man matches (with alternating shots) in the first round. But the Europeans caught up and won eight of the next twelve points.

The Solheim Cup is the female counterpart to the men's Ryder Cup. Actually, the twelve best golfers from the USA and Europe meet every two years for a continental comparison. However, the 19th edition of the Solheim Cup will be played as early as 2024 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainsville in the US state of Virginia. This means that the Solheim Cup is returning to the rhythm of even-numbered years after the corona pandemic. German golfers were not at the start of the current tournament.