Hedwall shows record form in European Solheim Cup victory
Caroline Hedwall’s performance last week in the Solheim Cup was historic for both her first-time 5-0 mark and a birdie putt on the final green to secure Europe’s retention of the Solheim Cup for the first time and also the initial victory in the United States.
Sweden’s Hedwall, 24, never played the par-4 18th hole in team competition. She won two Foursomes matches (alternate shot) with Anna Nordqvist (4 and 2 and 2 and 1) and two Fourball matches (better ball) with Caroline Masson (both by 2 and 1 scores). When she was forced to the final hole in Singles against Michelle Wie, Hedwall responded with a 9-iron shot from 150 yards to within 3 feet and sank the birdie putt for a 1-up victory to earn the 14th point, enough to keep the Solheim Cup in European hands.
Hedwall’s five wins and earning the winning point has been accomplished just once previously in international team competition. In the 2009 Presidents Cup at Harding Park in San Francisco, Tiger Woods won his Singles match handily to secure the winning point for the United States over the International team after teaming with Steve Stricker to win all four team matches. Three other players have gone 5-0 in The Presidents Cup: Mark O’Meara in 1996, Shigeki Maruyama in 1998 and Jim Furyk in 2011 but they didn’t get the clinching point. In the Ryder Cup, Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson were both 5-0 in 1967 and Larry Nelson was 5-0 in 1979.
Hedwall has won five times on the Ladies European Tour and her best finish on the LPGA was a T3 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this year. She continued her clutch play in the Solheim Cup after she rallied in the 2011 Singles from two down with two to play in halve with Ryann O’Toole and earn the half-point that tied the match in Ireland.
Hull’s good-luck charm
Charley Hull has been a good-luck charm for the Europeans in the last three years. Two years ago, she was on the Junior Solheim Cup team that tied the United States. Last summer, the English teenager was on the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team that defeated the Americans. She was a Captain’s pick – the youngest player ever in the Solheim Cup at age 17 – and had a 2-1-0 record, including a 5-and-4 victory over American stalwart Paula Creamer in the Sunday Singles last week. She makes only her second American stroke-play tournament start this week at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
All four major team golf trophies – the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup – reside with the Europeans. The Americans won the Junior Solheim Cup early last week prior to the Solheim Cup.
Week After the Solheim Cup
The Solheim Cup brings out good vibes in the 24 participants and they look to carry that forward this week in Canada. Six have won the following week. The CN Canadian Women’s Open field includes 23 of the 24 Solheim Cup team members. Only Lizette Salas is not in the field.
Here’s a look at the results of the first LPGA event after the Solheim Cup, with Solheim Cup team members denoted by *:
|1990||Itoman LPGA World Match Play||Betsy King*|
|1992||Mazda Japan Classic||Betsy King*|
|1994||Toray Japan Queens Cup||Woo Soon Ko (King was second)|
|1996||Fieldcrest Cannon Classic||Trish Johnson|
|1998||First Union Betsy King Classic||Rachel Hetherington|
|2000||Samsung World Championship||Juli Inkster*|
|2002||Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions||Se Ri Pak|
|2003||Safeway Classic||Annika Sorenstam*|
|2005||John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic||Annika Sorenstam*|
|2007||Navistar LPGA Classic||Maria Hjorth*|
|2009||Safeway Classic||M.J. Hur|
|2011||LPGA Hanabank Championship||Yani Tseng|
Lydia Ko in the spotlight
A week after the drama of the Solheim Cup, the CN Canadian Women’s Open focuses on defending champion Lydia Ko, who became the game’s youngest winner when she won last year, and the return to action of Inbee Park, the No. 1-ranked player in the world.
Ko, a New Zealand resident who was born in South Korea, made headlines last year when she won the tournament at age 15. She was also the first amateur winner on the LPGA since the 1969 Burdine’s Invitational when JoAnne Carner won.
Even though Ko has not missed a cut in 22 career professional starts, her 2013 season has been a bit of a rollercoaster. She opened with a 63 at the ISPS Handa Australian Open and led entering the final round, but shot a 76 to fall to third. She recorded finishes of T9, T4 and T7 mixed in with events where she didn’t contend.
Park was going for a fourth consecutive major championship three weeks ago at the Ricoh Women’s British Open before Stacy Lewis won. She can still capture a fourth major title Sept. 12-15 at The Evian Championship, the newly dubbed fifth major championship of the year.
Royal Mayfair Golf Club
Royal Mayfair Golf Club, a 1927 Stanley Thompson design, is located in Edmonton, Ontario and has been the site of the CN Canadian Women’s Open once before. In 2007, Lorena Ochoa shot 268 (16-under) to beat Paula Creamer by three strokes. Royal Mayfair also hosted the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour once, in 1958 when Wes Ellis shot 267.
The course has been remodeled since then, most notably the 10th hole. It was converted from a par 5 into a par 4. It will play as a par 70 this week.
There have been 18 American winners in 23 CN Canadian Women’s Opens. Defending champion Lydia Ko is the only native South Korean to win the event. … This year marks 40 years since Jocelyne Bourassa won the 1973 La Canadienne Golf Championship, the last Canadian to win a LPGA event in Canada. Before Monday qualifying, there were 19 Canadians in the field. … There are 10 tournaments remaining on the 2013 schedule and two in the United States – next week’s Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., and the season-ending CME Group Titleholders Nov. 21-24 in Naples, Fla.