A mixture of new faces and seasoned Solheim veterans will represent Team Europe at the 2021 event, in what captain Matthew will hope is the winning formula.
The conclusion of the AIG Women’s Open saw the qualification window for the Solheim Cup slam shut and Matthew announced her captain’s selections on Monday morning.
Three players will get to experience the Solheim Cup for the first time as Ireland’s Leona Maguire, Finland’s Matilda Castren and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen have been chosen by Matthew.
Castren clinched her first LPGA Tour win earlier this year when she won the 2021 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, securing LET membership a few weeks later when she won the Gant Ladies Open in her homeland.
The 26-year-old becomes the first Finn to represent Europe at the Solheim Cup and Castren admits it is a dream come true.
“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet, but it brings tears of joy into my eyes just thinking about it and how much fun it is going to be and how cool it is going to representing Europe and representing Finland,” she said.
“It has been one of my goals and dreams since I was a little girl. It is just so cool to see it happen. I can’t describe it, I’m super happy. It’s hard to contain my excitement. To be the first Finn is such a huge honour and I’m super proud to represent my country.”
Another player making history is Maguire, who becomes the first Irish player to represent Europe at the Solheim Cup.
The 26-year-old, who finished T6 at The Amundi Evian Championship, put on a good performance at Carnousite to end the tournament T13.
“I’m really excited, it is something that I have looked forward to. I have played the PING Junior Solheim Cup in 2009 and 2011, it was an incredible thing to be part of the Junior side so to be on the ‘big’ team is something really special and no Irish person has ever done it before,” said Maguire, who sits eighth on the Race to the CME Globe.
“I think it’s going to be great for Irish golf and to show the young girls coming up that it is possible to do things if you set your mind to it. Catriona is a legend in her own right – a winning Solheim Cup captain and a Major winner. For her to think I’m good enough to be on her team is quite humbling and an honour.”
Koerstz Madsen just missed out on automatic qualification through the LET points but her consistent performances and T5 finish at Carnoustie secured her pick, while 2019 breakout star Celine Boutier also features among Matthews selections.
Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom who was part of Team Europe in 2017, also returns to the side after putting on a show at Carnoustie this week, while Englishwoman Mel Reid, who featured as a vice captain in 2019, returns to the playing side of things.
Plus, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, Germanys Sophia Popov, England’s Charley Hull and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda – who secured their spots through the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
The 2021 Solheim Cup is set to get underway at Inverness Club in America from August 31 to September 6.