English international Annabell Fuller was one of the last day heroes as Europe came within two points of wrestling the PING Junior Solheim Cup from the United States at a sodden King's course at Gleneagles.
17-year-old Fuller, from Roehampton Golf Club, Surrey, beat American, Michaela Morand, as the home team came back from a 7½ - 4½ overnight deficit to win the singles 6½ - 5½. It was her second win of the match, having also teamed up with Scotland’s Hannah Darling to beat Lucy Li and Sadie Englemann 4&3 in the opening foursomes.
The other European winners in the singles were Danish duo Amalie Nissen and Anne Normann, Slovenia’s Pia Babnik, Italy’s Benedetta Moresco and France’s Lucie Malchirand, while Darling halved with World No. 5 Li to take the final score to 13-11 in favour of the Americans.
“It has been so much fun,” said Fuller. “The result is not what we wanted but I’m sure it’s something we will all remember for a long time to come."
“The whole team has bonded so well. It has enhanced the experience so much. In terms of team spirit, this is definitely one of the best I’ve ever been involved in. It’s also great to be here with all the Solheim Cup players because that’s something we all want to achieve one day. That is definitely a goal of mine one day.”
Fuller was one of three English players in this year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup team. Fellow internationals Lily May Humphreys, from Stoke by Nayland in Essex, and Mimi Rhodes, from Burnham & Berrow in Somerset, teamed up together to win their foursomes match 4 &3 against Amanda Sambach and Alexa Pano but then lost in the fourballs and the singles.
“It has been really amazing,” said Humphreys. The support we’ve receive has been amazing. It’s been so nice. I have just been signing autographs for the local school kids and it isn’t every day I do that. It’s been fantastic. We’ve all really enjoyed the whole match.”
American captain, Mary Bea Porter, and her European counterpart, Mickey Walker, were both struck by the fine margin between success and failure.
“That was tough out there,” said Porter-King. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I told my team last night that just because we were ahead didn’t mean it was over."
“It was close all day long and we had to grind it out to beat a strong European team."
“I’m exhausted and I didn’t even hit a shot. It was very close and I’m proud of the way my team handled the pressure. These young ladies are so talented. And by that I mean both sides because there has been some incredible golf played by both the US team and the Europeans."
“It makes me feel good about the future of the women’s game,” she added.
“We certainly put up a good fight but, on the day, we weren’t quite good enough,” admitted Walker.
“It would be fair to say we lost the match yesterday in the four balls but, whatever competition you play in, you can look back and find something you could have done better and there was a spell yesterday afternoon when some of the matches that were tight went their way because we made rudimentary mistakes. You can’t do that at this level. That’s in no way saying the girls weren’t doing what they should, because they were trying their hardest. But that’s golf and they will learn from their mistakes.
“They are a young team and at least half of them will be eligible for the match in America in two years’ time,” she added. “They will have learned an enormous amount from this. You only learn by your mistakes and hopefully that will help them we it comes to playing against the Americans again.”