EDINA -- It took 12 players to bring the Solheim Cup back to the United States. It took one to show what the tournament is all about.
Against the odds, Wendy Ward matched the best player in the world, Annika Sorenstam, shot for shot Sunday and came out with a draw.
It was the symbolic centerpiece of America's 15 1/2-12 1/2 comeback victory over Europe, a win that earned captain Patty Sheehan and her crew the honor of bringing home the most coveted prize in women's golf.
"This is the topper right here," Sheehan said. "The Solheim Cup is the top. It doesn't get any better than this."
Sheehan did cartwheels to celebrate, just like she did when she won the Nabisco Championship six years ago for her sixth and final major.
Before that, she was as tense as she'd ever been playing, walking the course and watching the slow comeback unfold.
America trailed 9-7 heading into Sunday, but won seven matches, lost two and split three to surpass the 14 1/2 points it needed to win the cup.
One of those draws -- Ward vs. Sorenstam -- may have been the most satisfying "victory" of the day.
Ranked 56th on the LPGA money list, and barely given a chance when the pairings came out Saturday night, Ward actually led through much of the match. She even had a chance to win the match on No. 18, but skidded a 4-foot putt past the hole.
It didn't matter. She halved the match, earned a half-point the Americans didn't expect, and added to a slew of wins from earlier in the day.
Juli Inkster of the U.S. celebrated after making a par putt on the 15th hole to win her singles match against Europe's Raquel Carriedo.
"I've always been very comfortable against her," said Ward, who used to play against Sorenstam in college. "Today was a day where I felt the most calm. I had 100 percent confidence that I could go out and beat her."
Wearing a white ski hat to keep away the chill, Sorenstam did the unthinkable on No. 14, missing from 2 feet to give Ward a brief, 1-up lead.
That summed up the day for Europeans -- lots of chances, lots of missed putts and not enough wins.
"Mickey Mouse could have beaten me the way I putted today," said Laura Davies, who lost 3 and 2 to Meg Mallon. "And Meg Mallon is a whole lot better than Mickey Mouse, that's for sure."
Mallon was among those who 2003 European captain Catrin Nilsmark ridiculed earlier this month in a batch of insults that added spice to this year's event.
Nilsmark called Laura Diaz "cocky" and said Cristie Kerr was "a little brat." She also said Michele Redman lacked talent and Mallon's best years were behind her.
The Americans played it cool on the outside, saying the shuns didn't bug them. But they admitted it motivated them deep down.
"We thought it was funny," Diaz said. "We used it as a joke. We gave ourselves nicknames based on that. Everyone's entitled to their opinion."
The main opinion going around after Saturday was that the Americans had squandered their chance. They were swept 4-0 in the best-ball matches, which are normally a strength.
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