The Solheim Cup may still be six months away, but after the dramatic events two years ago, and Europe’s sensational win in 2013, we can’t wait for the action to begin.
It will be golfing legend Annika Sorenstam who will steer the European ship at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, Iowa, on 14-20 August, and after the American’s incredible comeback in Germany we can be sure that the European team will be looking to exact revenge.
With the stakes now increased following the start of the new Ladies European Tour season, we make some early predictions as to who will make the squad.
One of the most naturally talented European players, the Spaniard hasn't been at her best as of late but is likely to crank up the volume in the run-up to the event. Playing most of her golf on the LPGA, Munoz, pictured top, may need a captain's pick to make the team, but having played in the past three Solheim Cups is unlikely to be overlooked.
Bar injury or a dramatic loss of form Hull must be considered a shoe in for Annika’s squad this August. The Englishwoman has made a habit of making the headlines in the transatlantic event, bursting onto the scene four years ago as a precocious seventeen-year-old, where she famously conquered Paula Creamer only to then ask for her autograph. Now a LPGA Tour winner, Hull will be among the strongest members of the squad.
Dorset’s Georgia Hall burst onto the scene last year with a string of good performances on the Ladies European Tour, eventually finishing fourth on the LET Order of Merit. The twenty-year-old may not yet be a household name but after posting eight top 10 finishes from 15 tournaments sits in second position in the LET points rankings and looks set to make her Solheim debut.
A former Junior Solheim Cup player, the Englishwoman rose the ranks playing alongside LPGA star Charley Hull, offering the potential for an extremely charismatic foursomes pairing!
Mel Reid got off to a flying start this season with victory at the Oates Vic Open, in Australia, and with a host of experience and two Solheim Cups under her belt must be among the favourites to make the squad. Reid considered giving up the game if she didn’t gain her LPGA card for this season. Luckily for team Europe, she did.
Currently sitting just outside the automatic qualification spots, the Dane remains a relative newbie on the LET, having only played two seasons on tour, but with one win already under her belt and a string of top ten finishes, she is among the most consistent performers around. A spot in the team would make her only the second Danish player to have teed it up in the event, after national legend Iben Tinning.
Nanna Koerstz Madsen
Fellow Dane, Nanna Koerstz Madsen is our choice as a surprise wildcard pick. With plenty of experience in the squad I suspect Annika will be prepared to take the risk on one of the most talented rising stars on the LET. The twenty-two-year-old came of age at the Tipsport Golf Masters this June, winning her maiden LET title. Having played alongside Emily Pedersen at the Olympics and World Golf Championship, the young compatriots could make for a natural foursomes pairing.
The Scot wasn't at her best last year, but despite being nearly fifty she continues to be one of Europe's best players. With seven Solheim Cups to her name, the former British Open champion brings a wealth of experience and will be an inspirational presence to the younger squad members.
Currently the top ranked European in the world rankings, 6ft Swede Anna Nordqvist looks set to continue her country’s record as the most represented nation at the Solheim Cup this August. A four-time Solheim Cup player, Nordqvist controversially missed out on earning her second major in a play-off at last year’s US. Open after a delayed rules decision. Known for her composure and temperament, she will be one of Europe’s greatest assets.
Another staple of the European team, the big-hitting Spaniard plies her trade on the LPGA but is likely to make the team through the World Ranking List. She has two LPGA victories to her name, including a win at last year’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational. A former British Amateur Champion, Ciganda has represented Europe at the past two Solheim Cups, forming successful partnerships with both compatriot Azahara Munoz and Mel Reid.
Having previously been paired with France's Karine Icher, it would be little suprise if Annika plumps from the tried and tested foursomes duo again.
The Frenchwomen may go about her business quietly but is known for letting her clubs do the talking. The 38-year-old, who plays primarily on the LPGA, will be among the oldest members of the team but with three Solheim cup appearances to her name will bring bags of experience.
Suzann’s gamesmanship may have gone some way to costing her team the Solheim Cup two years ago, but as one of only four European players in the world’s top 20 and with a ton of experience behind her, she remains one of Europe’s strongest players. The Norwegian sits T-3 in the European all-time list, with 19 points earned over the course of eight events. Will Annika consider reviving her foursomes partnership with Charley Hull?
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Playing mostly on the LPGA and with some big names ahead of her on the World Rankings List, the Englishwoman will most likely make the team via one of Annika’s four captain’s picks. Currently ranked World No. 55, Shadoff has 11 top-ten LPGA finishes to her name. Despite just one Solheim Cup appearance, Ewart Shadoff’s experience of playing week in week out on American-style courses alongside the opposition's players will be big boost to the European squad.
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