Solheim Cup, Europe: Player-by-player grades

Members of the European team hold Captain Liselotte Neumann on their shoulders as they celebrate defeating the United States 18-10 in the 2013 Solheim Cup.
Members of the European team hold Captain Liselotte Neumann on their shoulders as they celebrate defeating the United States 18-10 in the 2013 Solheim Cup. ( Getty Images )

Monday, August 19, 2013

After an impressive 18-10 victory by Europe in the 2013 Solheim Cup at the Colorado Golf Club, here is a player-by-player look at the European squad, including grades and record:

• • •

Carlota Ciganda: A (3-0-0)

Ciganda’s debut in Friday four-balls with Suzann Pettersen bordered on disaster. Ciganda contributed in only two holes for the Europeans that afternoon, but a different player showed up the next day. True to form, Ciganda played with laser-like accuracy from 100 yards and in teaming with fellow Spaniard Azahara Munoz. She birdied Nos. 2 and 10 to square the match, then 18 to secure the point. Ciganda, known as “little Seve” by Sunday, gets the European award for best overall comeback, especially after her singles victory against Morgan Pressel.

• • •

Jodi Ewart Shadoff: A- (2-1-0)

The rookie didn’t quite have it in her opening foursomes match with Catriona Matthew, struggling on and around fast greens. Ewart Shadoff reacted well to the lead position in Saturday four-balls, and contributed crucial birdies at Nos. 14 and 18 to back up Hull. Ewart Shadoff knew her position was to be the down-the-middle player when next to the aggressive kid, and she owned it. Won her singles match against Brittany Lincicome.

• • •

Caroline Hedwall: A+ (5-0-0)

The uncontested MVP. That Hedwall played – and looked fresh for – all five matches is a testament to her commitment to improved fitness and diet in the past year. Hedwall, the first player to go 5-0 in Solheim history, is such a strong player that it can overshadow her short game. Early week, putting was Hedwall’s biggest strength on Colorado Golf Club’s quick greens. Nordqvist may have won Saturday foursomes for the Swedish duo by aceing the 17th, but Hedwall set up the 1-up lead there with crucial putts at Nos. 13 (par) and 14 (birdie). She closed the week by beating Michelle Wie in singles, which retained the cup.

• • •

Charley Hull: A (2-1-0)

She took the perfect approach into the matches, and didn’t put any extra pressure on herself. She made six birdies in her Saturday foursomes match with Jodi Ewart Shadoff to carry the European team and win her first point. In singles, Hull outplayed Paula Creamer in every aspect of the game (despite a few missed 4-footers early in the day) for a 5-and-4 victory, Europe’s first Sunday point.

• • •

Karine Icher: B+ (2-1-1)

Teamed with Munoz to earn an unlikely victory against Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer in Friday’s foursomes. Icher putted incredibly during that match, and that continued. She did more than her share when paired with Beatriz Recari against Kerr and Morgan Pressel in Saturday four-balls. Icher holed a 45-foot birdie putt to win that match at No. 18, which sums up her weekend quite nicely.

• • •

Catriona Matthew: C (0-2-2)

It’s hard to judge Matthew’s complete performance without knowing what, exactly, she was saying to Europe’s six rookies in the team room. One has to imagine she passed on some veteran wisdom after six previous Solheim appearances, but Matthew wasn’t ever able to secure a full point for the Europeans. An underachievement, considering her career Solheim record before this week was 12-7-6.

• • •

Caroline Masson: B+ (2-1-1)

Masson was a strong four-ball partner for Hedwall, and displayed the ability to perform under pressure. Singles were hard for her against American rookie Lexi Thompson. She lost, 4 and 3, after Thompson went on a back-nine run.

• • •

Azahara Munoz: B (2-2-0)

Without her usual fire in her singles match with Brittany Lang, Munoz was unable to keep up. But Munoz gets early-week credit for her Friday-foursomes victory with Icher.

• • •

Anna Nordqvist: A (2-1-1)

Nordqvist will be good for the 2013 highlight reel. She made the first ace in Solheim Cup history to win in Saturday foursomes, and struck the morning’s opening tee shot in both Friday foursomes and Sunday singles without the slightest appearance of a shaky hand. The tall Swede took an early lead against World No. 2 Stacy Lewis in singles before Lewis caught up with three birdies at Nos. 10-14. Nordqvist’s birdie at No. 17 to square was big.

• • •

Suzann Pettersen: A (2-1-1)

Easily the most intense player on the golf course this week. Pettersen’s defining match came Friday afternoon, when she almost single-handedly won a point against Lewis and Lexi Thompson. Pettersen won five of the six holes that went in the Europeans’ favor, and three of those were when partner Ciganda was out of the hole. Surprisingly, Pettersen struggled in singles, but hung in for a half with Lizette Salas.

• • •

Beatriz Recari: A (3-1-0)

Paired twice with Suzann Pettersen early in the week, and is an effective down-the-middle sidekick for an aggressive partner. European captain Liselotte Neumann put Recari in the next-to-last position in her singles lineup, and Recari came up with a point against Angela Stanford.

• • •

Giulia Sergas: C (0-1-1)

If given more time on the course, Sergas might have been able to put a full point on the board for Europe. She played only one team match, Friday four-balls, then drew a difficult singles match against Jessica Korda. Sergas gave it a good fight, and birdied the 18th to get a half point. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.