Charley Hull, at 17, the youngest player in Solheim Cup history, put a royal pasting on Paula Creamer in their Sunday singles match -- and then asked the 2010 Women’s U.S. Open champ for her autograph.
"It’s for my friend at home, he’s a big fan," Hull, who notched the first point in Sunday’s finale for run-away cup winner Europe, told Golf Channel after her 5 and 4 romp over the veteran American golfer.
Hull, who sought advice from Ian Poulter before her debut in the women’s biennial competition, went 2-1 at Colorado Golf Club. The 2012 European Ryder Cup MVP’s counsel?
"Ian told me always to be on my guard," Hull told The Telegraph’s James Corrigan ahead of last week’s games. "You can never believe your opponent is out of a hole, never mind a game, or a match ... Ian’s been an inspiration to me. He has a fantastic, positive mindset and that’s how he’s got to where he is. I’ve listened to what he’s said."
On Sunday, the English teenager schooled a global audience on her own personal philosophy, one that allowed her to take her momentous star turn in stride.
"I didn’t really feel that nervous, to be honest," Hull said. "This is how I always look at golf: I’m not going to die if I hit a bad shot. Just hit it, find it, and hit it again."
Words to live by for sure for anyone who’s ever teed up a Pro V1x.
In the overall competition, the Euros kept the cup with Sunday’s 1-up triumph by Caroline Hedwall, who became the first golfer to go 5-0 in a Solheim Cup, over Michelle Wie. They won the match, nailing their first victory on U.S. soil, when Catriona Matthew halved her contest with Gerina Piller.
"It’s just an unbelievable feeling," Hedwall told Golf Channel after making a birdie on the 18th hole for her team’s 14th point. "There are no words, to be honest."
While Hedwall dropped the decisive putt, the Americans’ fate was sealed with the European sweep of the four matches on Saturday afternoon, a dominating performance that sent the visitors into Sunday with a 10.5-5.5 edge.
Needing just 3.5 points to retain the cup that they won in Ireland in 2011, and four to secure a win, captain Liselotte Neumann’s troops marched to an 18-10 victory, which also gave the Europeans back-to-back conquests for the first time since the inception of the Solheim Cup in 1990.
The Americans, who required 14.5 points overall to capture the trophy, had to mount a comeback worthy of Poulter’s 2012 mates, who stunned the U.S. at Medinah last year by rebounding from a 10-6 deficit in the finals. They simply were not up to the challenge.
"You’ve got to give all the credit to the Europeans," U.S. captain Meg Mallon said about a tilt that included rules blunders and etiquette kerfuffles. "They played unbelievable golf ... They made the putts, they made the shots."
The week was hardly without incident. After an embarrassing 30 minutes of deliberations on Friday, rules officials blew a call when they let Carlota Ciganda take an improper drop on the 15th hole. On Saturday, officials needed another 30 minutes to determine where Cristie Kerr and her European counterpart Beatriz Recari should take drops after both drove their balls into a hazard on the par-5 16th hole.
"It took forever, it was a mess, and it made everybody a little frazzled," Kerr told reporters about the incident after she and Morgan Pressel lost 1-up to Recari and Karine Icher in fourball. "And I mean, really, where my ball crossed, it kind of wasn't a question. But we were just trying to get it right. And we had to go to TV, and that took forever. And then the fans got anxious and it was weird."
Then, during a Saturday fourball match, Creamer, partnered with Lexi Thompson against Hull and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, was about to putt when she was told to pick up her ball. It seems that European vice captain Annika Sorenstam told Ewart Shadoff’s caddie to concede the putt to keep Thompson, with a shot on the same line for birdie, from getting a read.
At issue was whether Sorenstam flouted rules that prohibit vice captains from offering advice.
"Was Annika giving advice?" Mallon asked. "[Rules officials who conferred with USGA representatives] said it was not considered that but they’re going to speak to the assistant captains, because they want to make sure they do not intervene in any of the situations like this going forward."
Then there were the feathers that Wie ruffled during her Saturday fourball match against Caroline Masson and Caroline Hedwall. Wie apologized Sunday via Twitter for leaving the 16th green and heading for the 17th tee before the Europeans putted to halve the hole.
Feel absolutely horrible about running off the green on 16. Got caught up in the moment and was so tired that I forgot what was happening.— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) August 18, 2013
But that is no excuse for my behavior. Truly sorry.— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) August 18, 2013
The captain’s pick also absolved partner Jessica Korda of any wrongdoing.
Korda did indeed stay by the green to watch them finish out the hole.— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) August 18, 2013
Back on the course, in her Sunday singles match with Creamer, Hull drilled five birdies while her opponent, who made only two, was a disappointing 1-3 for the week.
"She played great," Creamer told Golf Channel. "I wish I could have given her a little bit of a battle. I just didn’t bring it today.
"The Solheim Cup brings the best and the worst out of you," Creamer noted. "When you’re playing against somebody who is putting it close, and you’re struggling, it kind of gets to you."
Hull, by the way, has accepted a sponsor’s invitation to this week’s Canadian Women’s Open, which will showcase 23 of the 24 Solheim Cup contestants (only Lizette Salas will be a no-show) as well as another teen phenom, defending champ Lydia Ko.