Aiming to bring the Solheim Cup home

American Jessica Korda lining up her drive on the 14th hole during a practice round for the Solheim Cup on Wednesday. The US are hoping for a third successive victory in the biennial tournament.
American Jessica Korda lining up her drive on the 14th hole during a practice round for the Solheim Cup on Wednesday. The US are hoping for a third successive victory in the biennial tournament.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Europe bank on home edge to break losing streak, US counting on 'experienced' rookies

GLASGOW • The United States have dominated the Solheim Cup and will be aiming for a third successive victory when the 16th meeting with Europe starts today at the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Scotland.

But a number of arrows point in favour of the hosts, and Catriona Matthew, the Europe team captain, is hoping for a memorable third win in a row in her homeland.

This is the third time the biennial contest has been staged in Scotland, and Europe pulled off a massive shock at Dalmahoy in 1992 and then won again at a very wet Loch Lomond in 2000.

"Home advantage does play a big part," suggested Matthew, who has played in nine Solheims.

"A victory for Europe this week would go right to the top of my list of achievements.

"It would even top my British Open win (in 2009). I have always loved the Solheim Cup.

"As captain, I have been busier than I imagined - there is an awful lot to do - but I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process."

US skipper Juli Inkster steered her side to victory in Germany in 2015 and again on home soil two years ago.

But she has an inexperienced line-up and suffered a blow earlier this week when former world No. 1 Stacy Lewis - a two-time Major winner - pulled out with a back injury.

Ally McDonald stepped in as reserve, but it means half of the visiting side are Solheim rookies.

"Six rookies, but six great rookies," was how Inkster summed up the situation. "They may be new to this event, but they are all experienced players.

"I also think that when we are playing away from home, there can be advantages. There is not quite so much expectation, so the team can play a little looser. Ally has fitted in very well and Stacy will be staying around to help from the sidelines."

Europe may have three rookies in the side attempting to reduce the overall deficit that currently stands 10-5 in favour of the US, but none will be feistier than Bronte Law.

"Apparently, the US are favourites, but I don't know where that comes from," said the Englishwoman. "I love matchplay and was in the winning Curtis Cup side at Nairn so (I) have good memories of playing in Scotland."

The form of Europe's Suzann Pettersen - the most experienced player on either side - will also be firmly in focus.

ON THE CONTRARY

I also think that when we are playing away from home, there can be advantages. There is not quite so much expectation, so the team can play a little looser.

JULI INKSTER, US captain, on how her team will not be affected playing in Scotland.

The 38-year-old Norwegian has had many moments of controversy in her eight appearances.

She swore live on American TV on her debut in 2002 and was embroiled in a row over whether or not a putt was conceded to Alison Lee in 2015.

Two years ago, the world No. 665 had to pull out with a back injury, and a year after giving birth to her son and with only a couple of playing appearances over the last 18 months, she was handed a shock wild card by Matthew.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2019, with the headline 'Aiming to bring the Solheim Cup home'. Print Edition | Subscribe