The most prestigious event in female golf, the Solheim Cup, gets underway tomorrow morning at Golf Club St Leon Rot, Germany.
With pressure on the home team to repeat the victories secured at Gleneagles by the Ryder Cup team a year ago and the outstanding performance at Lytham earlier this month by our Walker Cup boys, the stage is set for a gripping three days of golf. Following Europe’s historic victory in 2013 in which they secured their first win on American soil, the side are again endeavouring to rewrite the record books by becoming the first European team to claim three consecutive victories.
This afternoon team captain's Carin Koch and Juli Inkster took to the stage to announce their pairings for the first morning's fousomes. Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Petterson will be hoping to rekindle some of their magic from two years ago when they lead out the European team at 8am tomorrow morning. After triumphing 5 & 4 in the opening match at Colorado in 2013, the Scandinavian duo will be determined to kick-start the European charge in a similar fashion when they face the American pairing of Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer. The highest ranked players in a European team widely considered underdogs, the pair appeared the obvious choice to spearhead the team’s challenge.
At today’s opening ceremony, held in a large marque due to the inclement weather which plagued the players final day’s practice, Carin Koch confirmed that she ‘wanted a strong team to go out first.’ Looking particularly trendy in black leather jackets, black skirts, stylish blouses and flattering heels which contrasted with the American teams somewhat understated attire, Koch expressed her confidence that the experienced pairing where the ideal combination to handle what is likely to be a electric atmosphere on the first tee tomorrow morning.
Hoping to let their golf rather than outfits do the talking will be Juli Inkster’s second foursome pairing of Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome, who will be up against the English duo of Charley Hull and Mel Reid. Hull, who cemented her place as one the world’s leading players following her whitewash of Paula Creamer as a seventeen-year old two years ago, will be looking for similar form in a pairing characterised by both ladies fun-loving personalities.
Inkster admitted during her captain’s press conference that she had envisaged sending rookie Alison Lee out with Wie before her plans were scuppered by illness.
'‘It’s definitely a disruption but you just have to go with it,’' declared the American captain. '‘There are a lot of teams that have been a man down and been successful. She’s young. I hope she bounces back but I don’t want her ‘’heave-hoing’’ on the golf course. I’ve done that and it’s not fun.’’
The third match will see the renewed partnership of Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher take on the experienced Christie Kerr and long-hitting sensation Lexi Thompson. The European foursomes charge will then be propped up by the final pairing of Sandra Gal, who is sure to elicit substantial home support, and Scot Catriona Matthew, who face Stacy Lewis and Lizette Salas in what is set to be a gripping encounter.
With the prospect of sunshine to come and large crowds expected, the scene is set for a enthralling three days of golf.