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On road to redemption, Davies lets one slip away
By Joe Aguilar | Daily Herald Staff

Team Europe's Laura Davies of Britain is seen during the closing ceremony at the Solheim Cup golf tournament Sunday at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. The USA team won 16-12 to retain the cup.

 

Associated Press

Team Europe's Laura Davies of Britain reacts after making her putt on the second hole during a singles match at the Solheim Cup golf tournament Sunday.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 8/23/2009 8:19 PM

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Laura Davies hiked her hefty career point total in Solheim Cup competition, but the half-point she earned for Europe felt like even less.

It felt like defeat.

"One-hundred percent," Davies, the only player to tee it up in all 11 Solheim Cups, said after blowing a 2-up lead with two holes to go and halving her Sunday match with American Brittany Lang.

A day after sitting out Saturday's fourball and foursome matches (captain's decision) much to her disappointment, the venerable Davies was walking on a path of redemption at Rich Harvest Farms.

She was 3-up after 10 holes and playing like the old Laura Davies, the one who has collected 72 tournament victories and 23 Solheim Cup points, second most behind Annika Sorenstam (24).

Davies chunked her approach shot on No. 12 - after a fairway tree blocked her seemingly perfect tee shot - allowing Lang to win the hole. But the 45-year-old rebounded by nearly recording an ace on the very next hole.

With Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez watching from the par-3 13th tee box, Davies landed an 8-iron within kick-in distance.

"Perfect number for an 8-iron," she said. "We thought it was in, actually. It was like three or four inches away. It went up and then it just spun away on the deck. But it was only one hole unfortunately."

Davies walked to the par-4 17th needing only to halve one of the remaining holes to earn a full point for Europe.

She teed off with a 3-iron - and topped it.

The ball rolled about 100 yards, barely making the fairway.

Lang won the hole.

"I rushed the tee shot on 17," Davies said. "It was a shocker, but what can you do?"

Davies hit the 18th fairway with another iron shot. She struck her second shot well but it apparently landed in the creek, much to her surprise.

A dozen people - including European captain Alison Nicholas, U.S. assistant captain Kelly Robbins, Davies and Lang - searched the high grass by the creek for several minutes but never found a ball.

Needing only a 2-putt from 8 feet to win the hole and halve the match, Lang rolled in a birdie putt.

"I knew I just needed to give myself two opportunities on the last two holes," Lang said. "Laura was playing fantastic. She was making a lot of putts, hitting it well. I just tried to swing aggressively on those last two holes, and I hit some of the best shots I had hit all day."

Davies never trailed the entire round.

"I was 3up after 10 and playing nicely," Davies said. "Made a bit of a mess of 12. Hit what I thought was a good tee shot and it was right in (line with) one of those big trees in the fairway. Other than that, though, hit it solid. One bad shot on 17 and a big bit of bad luck on 18."

Davies has no plans on retiring from competitive golf anytime soon. She hopes to be playing in her 12th Solheim Cup in Ireland in 2011 and insisted she has no desire to serve as captain.

"I think it's just all the agony you have to go through," she said, drawing a couple of chuckles. "Poor old Al (Nicholas) has been pulled through a hedge backward this week. It looks like hard work, and I've always shied away from hard work."