Golf: Nelly Korda, women's Open winner Anna Nordqvist qualify for Solheim Cup

As the captains for each team, Korda and Nordqvist will pick the remaining members of their respective 12-person squads. PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE

(REUTERS) - World No. 1 golfer Nelly Korda leads the way for the United States at the upcoming Solheim Cup, as women's British Open winner Anna Nordqvist of Sweden qualified for Team Europe's title defence.

The favourites confirmed their nine automatic qualifiers on Sunday (Aug 22), with six qualifying for Europe, ahead of the tournament at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, which kicks off next week.

The captains for each team will pick the remaining members of their respective 12-person squads.

Olympic champion Korda, 23, who also featured in the 2019 Solheim Cup, is coming off a red hot streak after three LPGA Tour wins in 2021, including the Women's PGA Championship in June for the first Major.

She is joined by her sister, Jessica, five-time tour winner Danielle Kang, Ally Ewing, Austin Ernst, Lexi Thompson, Megan Khang, Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho, all of whom qualified, the tour confirmed.

Nordqvist, who secured her third Major triumph by one shot at Carnoustie on Sunday, will feature in the biennial team event for the seventh consecutive time.

England's Georgia Hall secured her spot on Team Europe after finishing tied for second with another Swede Madelene Sagstrom and Salas.

She will be joined by compatriot Charley Hull, Spain's Carlota Ciganda, Denmark's Emily Kristine Pedersen and German Sophia Popov, who won the women's British Open in 2020.

Besides the six qualifiers, captain Catriona Matthew selected a trio of Solheim Cup rookies among her picks.

The newcomers are Nanna Madsen of Denmark, who finished fifth on Sunday, Ireland's Leona Maguire and Finland's Matilda Castren.

Maguire and Castren are the first players from their respective nations to compete for Europe in the tournament.

"I don't think it has really sunk in yet, but it brings tears of joy into my eyes just thinking about it," said Castren, who had her first tour win at the Mediheal Championship in June.

Scot Matthew also selected Solheim veterans Sagstrom, Celine Boutier of France and England's Mel Reid.

The US have won 10 of the 16 editions of the Solheim Cup but she said last week she had no concerns accepting the "underdogs" tag ahead of the tournament.

Europe edged out the US 14.5-13.5 two years ago at Gleneagles, with Norwegian Suzann Pettersen holing the winning putt before retiring.

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