Irish eyes are smiling. At least those of Leona Maguire, who starred for Team Europe in its successful defense of the Solheim Cup. The Irish rookie was the clear MVP for the Blue and Gold as it beat Team USA 15-13.
Maguire won her singles match on Monday to finish unbeaten in her Solheim Cup debut, setting a rookie record with 4.5 points.
“The goal was to get my point. I’ve given it my absolute all this week, I couldn’t have given anything more,” said Maguire.
“I knew I was going to have to play some really good golf to beat [Kupcho]. I got off to a great start; an eagle on two really set me up.
“I holed some really nice putts and kept my foot down all day. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the week was going to go this way. It has been an honor to represent Europe.”
It was another rookie, though, who clinched the title for Team Europe when Finland’s Matilda Castren drained an eight-foot putt on the final hole to win her match over Lizette Salas, giving Europe the 14 points they required to retain the Cup.
A short while later, Denmark’s Emily Pedersen ended the tie to give Europe the outright win with 15 points.
“It’s just crazy, crazy,” said Castren. “I can’t believe I made that putt.”
After the big win, chants of “Beany we love you” were heard on the Golf Channel broadcast as players and fans lauded their two-time winning captain, Catriona Matthew.
“It’s just unbelievable. My team have been so fantastic all week,” said Matthew.
“I’m so proud of them. We knew it was going to be tough with just a handful of European fans. It was a great start and then got a little dodgy.
“It was nerve-wracking. We got three and a half [points] out of the first four and then the tide was turning.”