Leona Maguire puts in sensational Solheim Cup debut.
Leona Maguire was the toast of her Team Europe colleagues after playing a key role in helping them retain the Solheim Cup with a 15-13 victory over Team USA in Ohio.
The first Irishwoman ever to compete in the tournament, Maguire went undefeated throughout the weekend, and finished it off with a comprehensive victory over Jennifer Kupcho in Monday’s singles match.
As the trophy was passed to Maguire during the celebrations, chants of “MVP” could be heard, reflecting the appreciation felt by teammates and supporters for the Cavan woman’s performance.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 6, 2021
The acknowledgement of Maguire’s skills wasn’t limited to the course, with those on commentary duty also being wowed by a seamless performance over the weekend.
“I knew she was really good obviously, but this is crazy good,” said one commentator after the 26-year-old sank a putt during her match with Kupcho…
Anyone need putting tips?!
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) September 6, 2021
Leona Maguire was the “clear MVP.”
As well as that, Golf.com called Maguire “the clear MVP of the Solheim Cup,” adding that she “played every session and went undefeated, earning immediate star status.”
“It was an amazing team effort after we got off to a great start this morning,” Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew said after the victory was confirmed.
“We knew it would be so tough with no European fans. I’m just so proud and happy for them.”
Maguire beat Kupcho five & four to pick up the first point of the final day and extend Europe’s overnight lead as she became the third player in Solheim Cup history to earn her team four or more points in a single competition.
USA begin fightback.
It was quickly followed by Madelene Sagstrom bagging another point with a three & two win over Ally Ewing and then Celine Boutier completing a resounding five & four victory over Mina Harigae in a blemish free performance.
The much-anticipated contest between Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson, who were the first singles pairing to tee off on the final day, was halved after 18 holes to take Europe even closer, but then began the U.S. fightback.
The first full point of the day for the Americans came from World No. 1 Nelly Korda, who beat Georgia Hall on the last hole at the end of a close contest that finally gave the partisan crowd reason to cheer.
Europe retain Solheim Cup.
Home momentum faltered as Austin Ernst missed a short birdie putt on the last and halved with Nanna Koerstz Madsen but then Megan Khang and Brittany Altomare revived American hopes to reduce Europe’s lead to 13-11.
Khang, who was six up at one stage, completed a three & two win over Sophia Popov while Altomare ended Carlota Ciganda’s unbeaten singles record in the Solheim Cup with a two & one victory.
But Salas faltered on the last to allow Castren to spark European celebrations and, while the Americans won two of the last three matches, Pedersen’s lead over Danielle Kang was big enough to survive a late mini-collapse and ensure cup success.
Additional reporting by Reuters.