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Stable in singles, American women take Solheim Cup again

Solheim Cup
Alastair Grant/AP
The U.S. team won for only the second time on European soil.

HALMSTAD, Sweden (AP) — All that talk about choke jobs and lost opportunities turned out to be overblown. The Americans have always owned singles, and after yet another Sunday success, they own the Solheim Cup again, too.

The United States used a top-to-bottom blowout in singles to overcome a one-point deficit in soggy Sweden and win one of the biggest prizes in women's golf. This was only the second time they've captured the cup on European soil.

Paula Creamer's tap-in on the 15th hole ensured the Americans of the 14 points they needed to retain the cup, and Nicole Castrale's 8-footer moments later wrapped up a the United States' second straight win.

By the time the matches and the blowout were over, the United States had gone 8-3-1 in singles to win the tournament 16-12.

There were celebrations all over the course as the final matches played out. Nine of the Americans piled onto a cart to watch Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis finish their matches. Laura Diaz sat in the front waving an American flag.

A little later, a group hug and group yell - "U.S.A., U.S.A., All the way!'' - punctuated a successful close to a long slog of a weekend by a predominantly young, inexperienced and talented team.

Early winners included Juli Inkster, Pat Hurst, Angela Stanford, Morgan Pressel and Stacy Prammanasudh. Creamer and Castrale sealed the win. Then, Gulbis won, and the Americans bumped their all-time winning percentage in singles from .590 to .602.

That dominance in singles might be why the United States didn't panic after letting seemingly precious points slip away during two-plus days of fourball and foursome matches played in terrible conditions that ranged from soaking rains to 40 mph winds to both.

Former American player Dottie Pepper, now an analyst for The Golf Channel, called the Americans "Chokin' freakin' dogs'' on Saturday - not knowing she was on the air - after watching the Americans turn two likely victories into a pair of disappointing ties.

Captain Betsy King refused to address the comment, though many Americans were said to have been angered and hurt by having a former teammate and friend make such a cutting remark.

"It definitely didn't go over well,'' said Pressel's grandfather, Herb Krickstein, who watched all weekend from the gallery. "There was a feeling that it was inappropriate.''

But Pepper wasn't totally wrong. Even on Sunday, during the conclusion of the weather-delayed fourball matches, Creamer and Brittany Lincicome missed 3-foot tap-ins to cost their team a hole, the lead and eventually a half-point in a tie against Linda Wessberg and Maria Hjorth.

The Europeans went into the final round with an 8 1/2-7 1/2 lead, and the Americans looked like they might be too young and nervous to actually win this event in Europe for the first time since 1996. The U.S. team won two years ago at Crooked Stick in Indiana.

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