Hot on the heels of the exciting events in Ireland at the Solheim Cup is the opportunity to watch the best women golfers in the world right here in Orlando. The ladies are due to visit from 15th to 20th November at Grand Cypress Resort and this year there’s a brand new format that will ensure that play is as competitive as it has ever been.
The season finale will have a field made up of three qualifiers from every official LPGA Tour tournament, a format never previously used in professional golf. The “Countdown to CME Group Titleholders” will be the culmination of a season-long unifying program that showcases the best performing players from the 2011 LPGA Tour season, and also highlights each and every title sponsor on the LPGA Tour. It promises to be an interesting showdown and ticket s can be obtained at the LPGA web site.
The Solheim Cup was finally won by a jubilant European team in dramatic circumstances earlier today. Following rain delays, lightning threats and the shock withdrawal of Cristie Kerr due to injury before the start of her match, Europe finally regained the Solheim Cup in thrilling fashion with a narrow 15-13 victory over the USA. It was a day where fortunes flowed back and forth as both teams had the chance of victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland.
Both teams were packed with players who call Orlando home so the event was full of interest for those who love golf in Central Florida. The USA team had Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome and Vicky Hurst from the Central Florida area as well as Boca Raton’s Morgan Pressel while Europe had Assistant Captain Annika Sorenstam, Suzann Pettersen (pictured below), Maria Hjorth, Anna Nordqvist and Sandra Gal as well as Ponte Vedra’s Sophie Gustafson.
In the end it all came down to the last three singles matches and a dramatic final half hour. It was during this time that the USA held the upper hand but the pendulum swung firmly in Europe’s favour as Suzann Pettersen started the fightback. One down with three to play against Michelle Wie, the world No. 2 pulled off a dramatic win on the final hole after a run of three successive birdies on the 16, 17 and 18 holes.
This only served to spur on Caroline Hedwall who was two down with two to play against Ryan O’Toole and she managed to win the last two holes to half her match and gain a valuable half point. Azahara Munoz then had the honour of clinching the vital point in the final match as she managed a one hole win over Angela Stanford.
It was the first win for Europe since 2003 and for Captain Alison Nicholas’s European team the 7-5 singles score meant it was a fourth win from 12 contests, and they will go to Colorado Golf Club in two years’ time hoping to win in the USA for a first time.
So Yeon Ryu (pictured above) won the all South Korean three hole play off to take the U.S. Women’s Open title after taking a two shot lead on the second play off hole. She then hit a solid approach to within a few feet on the final play off hole to birdie the hole and take the title by three shots. It was a remarkable finish for Ryu as she came to the course this morning one shot behind Hee Kyung Seo (pictured below). She made up that one shot difference by hitting a fantastic approach shot on the par-4 18th to 6 feet and sinking the putt for birdie. Both Ryu and Seo finished the 72 holes at 3-under 281.
Seo had finished her round Sunday night before darkness halted play so everything was to play for when the final 30 players teed off this morning. American’s closest challenger, Cristie Kerr came into the morning two shots behind but finished with two pars while Angela Stanford made birdie on 16 to get to 1 under and into contention, but she missed a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and bogeyed 18 to finish at even.
The playoff ran through 16, 17 and 18 holes, and Ryu became the fifth South Korean to take America’s national championship. It’s a remarkable achievement that was all started by Se Ri Pak (pictured below) when she took the title back in 1998 and put South Korean golf on the map.
Se Ri Pak & Nigel Worrall