Team USA retained the Solheim Cup as they secured a convincing five-point win over Europe, who produced a valiant final-day performance in the singles to avoid a record defeat.
Needing just four points for overall victory on the final day at Des Moines, Lexi Thompson contributed a half as she mounted an astonishing back-nine comeback against unbeaten Swede Anna Nordqvist in the top match, and Cristie Kerr extended her American record points haul to 21 with victory over Mel Reid.
Georgia Hall’s impressive Solheim Cup debut ended in disappointment as she three-putted the last green to gift victory to Paula Creamer and, after super-sub Catriona Matthew stunned Stacy Lewis and Caroline Masson crushed Michelle Wie, Angel Yin’s half with Karine Icher ensured USA would retain the trophy with Lizette Salas dormie two-up on Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
It was therefore left to Salas to guarantee overall victory with her win over Shadoff in match seven, although Europe showed some steel in the lower half of the order to deny Juli Inkster’s team a record victory in the competition.
Europe needed to pull off a monumental comeback as they trailed by five points overnight following another dominant performance from Inkster’s side in Saturday’s fourballs, and Nordqvist put some early blue on the board as she won the first four holes against an out-of-sorts Thompson.
The USA were soon ahead in the next four matches before the visitors staged a valiant rally, but it became a case of keeping the score respectable as far as Annika Sorenstam was concerned and they achieved that thanks to wins for the injured Charley Hull, Carlota Ciganda and rookie Madelene Sagstrom.
Most of the early attention was fixed on the opening encounter which proved to be one of the most memorable in the 15 editions of the Solheim Cup, with Thompson playing the first seven holes of the back nine in an amazing eight under par as she fought back from four down at the turn to lead by one.
To her credit, Nordqvist regained her composure to deny the world No 2 with a superb birdie at the last, while Hall hit back from going two down early in her clash with Creamer to edge ahead with five holes to play, only for the American wildcard to level at the next before Hall lost her focus on the final green.
Veteran Kerr finished the week unbeaten as she leapt into a two-up lead against Reid and held firm down the stretch after the English star had levelled by the turn, the American sealing victory with a par at 17 to make it three wins and a half for the contest.
Matthew, a late call-up to the European side after Suzann Pettersen withdraw on Wednesday with a back injury, was three down after four holes against a rampant Lewis, who maintained that advantage until the 12th when the Scot won four of the next six holes to snatch an unlikely point for her side.
Icher denied Yin the honour of claiming the 14th point as the French ace was another to produce a dogged late rally, coming from two down with five to play to draw level with wins at 14 and 17, while Masson earned her first point of the week as she outclassed Wie in a 4&2 victory.
But that merely delayed the inevitable as Salas halved the 16th with Ewart Shadoff to stay two up and, after the English battler birdied 17 to extend the match, Salas rolled in the winning putt from four feet to ensure overall victory for Team USA.
Europe had appeared in danger of being on the wrong end of a record scoreline, but Ciganda emulated Masson in picking up her first point with a comprehensive 4&3 dismantling of Brittany Lincicome, and Hull defied the pain in her wrist to edge out Brittany Lang as a birdie at 17 proved decisive in a one-up win.
Sagstrom also avoided a pointless debut when she overpowered fellow rookie Austin Ernst, but Florentyna Parker and Emily Pedersen were both unable to break their ducks as they slid to defeat to Gerina Piller and Danielle Kang respectively.