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Europe regain Solheim Cup after last-day heroics in Ireland

updated 3:52 PM EDT, Sun September 25, 2011
The winning European team celebrate their 15-13 win over the United States in the Solheim Cup
The winning European team celebrate their 15-13 win over the United States in the Solheim Cup
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Europe win back Solheim Cup with 15-13 win over United States at Killeen Castle in Ireland
  • Match tips Europe's way in last three singles matches with Suzann Pettersen leading way
  • Swede beats Michelle Wie on final hole after trailing with three holes remaining
  • Cristie Kerr of United States has to concede match against Karen Stupples through injury

(CNN) -- Europe regained the Solheim Cup with a 15-13 victory over the United States at Killeen Castle in Ireland Sunday.

With the scores tied 8-8 going into the concluding 12 singles matches, a close finish always looked likely and the outcome boiled down to the last three matches on course.

Norway's Suzann Pettersen led the European fight back as she came down from one down with three to play to beat Michelle Wie by one hole.

At the culmination of a superb match, Pettersen holed an eight-foot birdie putt on the final green to tip the match in Europe's favor.

In the second last singles, Caroline Hedwall, two down with two to play against Ryann O'Toole, won the last two holes for a vital half point, which effectively sealed the European triumph, their players running onto the 18th green to celebrate.

My team played with such heart and passion. They are all champions
Alison Nicholas

With Azahara Munoz one up with one to play against Angela Stanford, it meant Europe had an unassailable one-point lead.

After the green cleared, Stanford played a superb approach to within a few feet, but both putts were conceded to hand Munoz a 1up victory.

The United States, who had won the last three editions of the biennial team competition, suffered an early blow when Cristie Kerr was forced to withdraw from her final singles match against Karen Stupples with an injured wrist.

Kerr was left in tears at the concession of a point which was to prove crucial.

Catriona Matthew gave Europe early impetus with a 6 and 5 victory over Paula Creamer in the top singles and Sophie Gustafson added a second point for the home side with a final green win over Stacy Lewis.

Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel, with her fourth win in four, put the United States back on to the front foot and the match between veterans Juli Inkster and Laura Davies ended all square.

Christina Kim of the United States beat fellow rookie Maria Hjorth, while American Vicky Hurst beat Melissa Reid by two holes and Europe's Christel Boeljon overcame Brittany Lincicome by the same margin to set up the exciting finale with the scores then tied 12 1/2 - 12 1/2.

Europe captain Alison Nicholas was leading her team to the fourth victory in 12 contests and they will defend the trophy at Colorado Golf Club in 2013.

"My team played with such heart and passion. The rookies were fantastic and the experienced players have done so well. They are all champions," Nicholas told Sky Sports.

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