As if an 8-8 tie heading into the singles session at the Solheim Cup wasn’t going to create enough drama on Sunday at Gleneagles, another storyline surfaced on the final day involving one of Team USA’s top players.
Lexi Thompson, the highest ranked player on the American team (No. 3 in the world) and playing in the third match of the day against Europe’s Georgia Hall, suffered back spasms during her warm-up session. On the TV broadcast, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz first reported that Thompson tweaked her back as the match had reached the third hole. Foltz said that he talked to Thompson’s agent, Bobby Kreusler, who said that Thompson wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to play at all or whether she would be able to finish the match.
Cold, windy conditions returned for a third straight day at Gleneagles, although the wind gusts are lower than what they had been during Saturday’s play. Thompson played in three of the four previous sessions this week, going 0-1-2.
Thompson did tee off with Hall at their 12:04 p.m. Scotland time, and her swing did not appear to show any outward signs of problems as she played the first few holes of her match. Her caddie, Benji Thompson, however, teed up Lexi’s ball on several holes to keep her from having to bend over and potentially aggravate things.
Thompson took a 1-up lead on the first hole, and won the sixth hole with a par to go 2 up. But Hall won three straight holes on Nos. 9-11 to pull out front, then won the 15th hole to grab a 2-up advantage. With a par on the 17th hole, Hall closed out the win, 2 and 1.
After the match, Thompson was taken to get more physical therapy. During the match, a Team USA trainer had followed her and applied occasional treatment.
"We were on the driving range, she went to bend over and tee up a shot, couldn’t even bend down," Benji Thompson said after the round. "It kind of affected her downswing. I think that’s why she hit a few of the right shots today, it came from just being somewhat in pain and couldn’t really fire through the ball.
"She’s obviously had some injuries in her career, but this one just came out of nowhere," he said. "She grinded. She played the front nine good. It wasn’t like she ever gave up. She’d never give up. She fought through it. Dealt with it. It is what it is.”
—Additionally reporting from Keely Levins