Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson entertained the fans at Des Moines with an enthralling singles battle on the final day that will go down as one of the best ever seen in the Solheim Cup.
The top match between Europe’s leading player and the world No 2 looked the most intriguing of the day, but what transpired turned out to be one of the greatest clashes in Solheim Cup history.
It was all Nordqvist over the early stages as Thompson was clearly at odds with her game, particularly with the putter, but the American produced an astonishing back-nine comeback…
Nordqvist holed a crucial putt from eight feet for birdie at the first and probably considered conceding a half with Thompson inside three feet, but the short, jabby putting stroke resulted in a remarkable miss.
Thompson’s long game let her down at the second and she failed to save par from the fringe, and she then three-putted the third after blocking her tee shot some distance from an inviting pin.
Team USA captain Juli Inkster then appeared on the fourth fairway to give a few words of encouragement and a big hug to her deflated star, but Nordqvist turned the screw further as she holed from six feet for birdie to go four up after four.
Inkster’s words of wisdom suddenly hit home at the long fifth as two good blows from Thompson found the green and, after Nordqvist was unable to make birdie, a cautious lag to gimme range finally got a red number on the board.
The pair traded pars over the next three holes before Nordqvist restored her four-up advantage at the ninth as Thompson summed up her outward half with a scrappy six, conceding the hole with the Swede lining up a close-range birdie putt.
But Thompson ignited her fightback with a birdie at the 10th before she conjured up a moment of magic at the next, holing her wedge approach from the fairway for a spectacular eagle-three which reduced Nordqvist’s advantage to two.
The Swede managed to claim a half at the next, but it was only a brief respite from a rampant Thompson as she stiffed her approach to the 13th for another winning birdie, and both made superb twos at the short 14th.
Thompson then had the galleries celebrating again with her second eagle of the back-nine at the 15th, holing a tricky 20-foot putt with plenty of break and Nordqvist could not follow her in from five feet closer.
Incredibly, Thompson found herself leading a pulsating battle when she picked up yet another birdie at the 16th, although both players missed the green from the tee at 17 and neither could get up and down.
That left Thompson needing only a half at the last for a sensational victory, but Nordqvist – buoyed by a pep talk from captain Annika Sorenstam – drilled her second to five feet and held her nerve to roll in the putt to earn the half she deserved.