Catriona Matthew believes she has a strong European team at her disposal for the Solheim Cup and has backed her players to take their form from the AIG Women’s Open into the event.
Matthew finalised her European side after the conclusion of the last women’s major of the year, won by Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, naming two members of the winning 2019 team and three rookies among her six captain’s picks.
Nordqvist’s third major victory was one of many impressive performances by the European contingent at Carnoustie, with 2018 champion Georgia Hall finishing tied second alongside Madelene Sagstrom and Nanna Koerstz Madsen ending the week inside the top five, giving Matthew plenty of encouragement heading into the biennial contest against the United States.
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“Obviously the Americans are always strong on paper and world ranking-wise they’re probably ahead of us, but I think we’ve got a really good team,” Matthew told Sky Sports News.
“As we saw at the AIG Women’s Open, a lot of our team are playing well. That was a dream leaderboard for us and if we can keep that form up then we’ll give them [Team USA] a run for their money.
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September 3, 2021, 11:00pm
“It’s always tough playing away from home, especially this year when there will be very few European fans due to them not being able to travel to the States, but hopefully they’ll all be cheering us from their TVs!”
Sophia Popov will make her Solheim Cup debut after her 2020 AIG Women’s Open victory helped her secure an automatic qualification place via her world ranking, with the German one of four rookies in the European side after Leona Maguire, Matilda Castren and Madsen all claimed captain’s picks.
“I think Leona (Maguire) has been playing really well all year and will be the first player from Ireland to play in it,” Matthew added. “She’s a really solid player with a great match play record as an amateur and was world No 1 amateur for a couple of years, so I think she was an obvious choice.
“Castren has won on the LPGA Tour this year and then had to come back and win a Ladies European Tour event just to be eligible for the team, which I think showed great character.
“Madsen finished third in the first major of the year and then was pipped at Carnoustie yesterday, so I don’t really think of any of them as rookies to be honest!”
Watch the Solheim Cup this September live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Saturday September 4 from midday on Sky Sports Golf
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