Angry United States take Solheim Cup as putt row rages
The United States turned their fury at a controversial incident into a brilliant fightback to win the Solheim Cup and avoid an unprecedented third straight defeat.
Europe took a 10-6 lead into the final session at St Leon-Rot in Germany, but could only manage three and a half points from the 12 singles to see the trophy slip from their grasp.
Victories from Karine Icher, Melissa Reid and Anna Nordqvist left the home side needing half a point from the remaining five matches, but none of those even made it to the 18th hole.
Charley Hull lost her 100 per cent record to an inspired Cristie Kerr, who fired seven birdies in eight holes after being three down after four, while Caroline Hedwall was thrashed 6&4 by Michelle Wie.
America's Gerina Piller then holed from 10 feet on the 18th to beat Caroline Masson and keep the match alive, before Angela Stanford amazingly ended a run of nine straight defeats with a 2&1 win over Suzann Pettersen, who had earlier been at the heart of the controversy which left two players in tears.
In the final fourball match carried over from Saturday, Pettersen and Hull were all square with two holes to play against Brittany Lincicome and Alison Lee.
Lee missed a birdie putt to win the 17th and, after the ball finished two feet behind the hole, scooped it up with her putter thinking it either had been, or was certain to be, conceded.
Hull gave that impression as she was already walking across the front of the green towards the 18th tee, but Pettersen said they had not conceded the putt and therefore won the hole.
European captain Carin Koch approached the match referee on the 18th to ask if there was anything she could do and was told they could concede the hole, but opted not to after Pettersen insisted she was not going to concede Lee's putt.
Hull (19), and 20-year-old rookie Lee were reduced to tears as heated discussions took place around the green, with visiting captain Juli Inkster wanting to lead some of her team in a chant of "Europeans suck", before they opted for "Class, style, U-S-A."
Asked if it was possible to change the result of the match, Inkster said: "It's a done deal and you know what, we don't want it now. I have never seen anything like it in my career. It's just not right. You just don't do that to your peers. It's disrespectful.
''I saw Charley walking off and Suzann kind of turned her back and then Suzann said she did not give it to her (Lee)."
Twelve-time Solheim Cup player Dame Laura Davies said she was "disgusted" by Pettersen's behaviour.
"We have got our best player, Charley Hull, who has just won a point and she is in floods of tears. That tells you the wrong thing was done," Davies said.
"How Suzann can justify that I will never, ever know. We are all fierce competitors but ultimately it's unfair.
"Poor old Alison Lee must think, 'I hope I never play a Solheim Cup again'. She has had food poisoning and now she has been wronged by one of the most senior players in golf."
After her side's comeback was complete thanks to Paula Creamer's 4&3 win over Germany's Sandra Gald, Inkster added: "I'm over it now. We've got the cup.
"I didn't have to say anything, they were all fired up and ready to go. I put my line-up together and it fell in perfectly and the girls just played awesome."
Rory McIlroy has lost the world number one spot to Jason Day after the Australian blazed a trail to win the $8,250,000 BMW Championship - the penultimate event in the FedEx Cup race - in Chicago by six shots, finishing with a 22 under par total after a fourth round two under par 69.
McIlroy shot a one under 70 for a 14 under total to finish tied fourth. Jordan Spieth was a further three shots back.