SARASOTA, Fla., Nov. 14, 2015 – The United States team retained the ISPS Handa Cup today at Palm Aire Country Club, winning the 10th annual event 26-22, but not without a formidable fight from the World Team. The Americans entered the Saturday singles matches with a 16-8 lead, but as promised, World Team Captain Sally Little “frontloaded” her pairings, hoping to win some early matches to spark her squad. Sure enough, the World Team rallied and won four out of their first six matches to trim the Americans’ lead to 20-16.
U.S. Team member Juli Inkster carded a score of 5-under 67 to win her match and earn 2 points against England’s Laura Davies, but the internationals stormed back to grab points for their side. England’s Trish Johnson beat Laurie Rinker by five shots, while Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson won by two strokes over Barb Mucha.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, making her Handa Cup debut, carded the day’s lowest score of 7-under 65 to defeat U.S. Team member Pat Hurst. Beth Daniel answered for the Americans with a win over Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann in the fifth match, but Australia’s Wendy Doolan edged out Pat Bradley to move the World Team within two strokes of the Americans, whose lead had now shrunk to 20-18.
The day’s turning point came in the seventh match between Peru’s Jenny Lidback and American Danielle Ammaccapane. Ammaccapane struggled on the front nine, but birdied holes 14, 15 and 16 and saved par on 17, where Lidback took bogey.
Tied going into the final hole, Lidback hit the 18th green in regulation and was in position to putt for a birdie while Ammaccapane hit a fairway bunker shot to within 100 yards of the green. Ammaccapane holed out for birdie from the fairway and Lidback missed her birdie chance, giving the American the win.
That gave the Americans a 22-18 lead and they needed to win only one more match to secure the Handa Cup. American Michele Redman, tied with Canadian Lorie Kane heading into No. 18, secured those two points in the next match. Redman’s approach landed within two feet of the flagstick and the Minnesotan tapped in for a birdie and the win.
“They did it to us again, but we are making the competition a little closer,” said World Team captain Sally Little. “Our team’s comeback today was amazing.”
Added U.S. Team captain Nancy Lopez: “It was a pleasure to play with these great champions on the LPGA Tour and now on the Legends Tour. “I’m just happy Team U.S.A. came out on top.”
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