European Captain Carin Koch has made her four picks for this year’s Solheim Cup matches in Germany, naming Caroline Hedwall, Karine Icher, Caroline Masson and Catriona Matthew to complete her 12-woman team.
All four players enjoyed a record 18-10 victory representing Europe in the 2013 match at Colorado Golf Club in the United States of America. They are now heading to Golf Club St.Leon-Rot near Heidelberg for the 2015 matches on 18-20 September where they will face Juli Inkster’s United States team.
Hedwall, a star of two winning sides in 2011 and 2013, rewrote the history books at Colorado Golf Club when she became the first player to win five out of five matches – and by winning the 14th point she retained The Cup for Europe. The 26-year-old Swede is thrilled to be representing Europe for a third time and said: “I’m just really excited about it. After my last two tournaments I wasn’t expecting anything and when Carin called I was really happy because I love The Solheim Cup and I’m really pumped to get to Germany and play. I love that team and I’m really excited to get back to Europe. When I played in the Ladies European Tour event in Germany the crowds were really good and comparable with those in Sweden. I’m hoping for big crowds and that a lot of people will come out and cheer for us. A lot of my friends will drive from Sweden because it’s not that far, so I’m hoping people will come from all over Europe to support the team.”
Icher, 36, from France, will make her first Solheim Cup appearance on European soil having played on the 2002 and 2013 teams in the United States previously. She said: “It was really nice to be selected as I’m sure there were quite a few players on the list. I know that some people will be disappointed so I’m very proud to be on the team representing Europe and we’ll do our best to win the Cup.”
Masson, who earned 2 ½ points as a Solheim Cup rookie in 2013, will defend The Solheim Cup in her home country. The 26-year-old said: “It’s been a huge goal to make the team for the last two years and I have been waiting for that call, to see what decision Carin would make. When she told me I was a pick I was super happy and I can’t wait to tee up in Germany in front of my friends and family. It’s going to be a huge event and I feel so happy and fortunate to be a part of it.”
Matthew, who gained the winning point at Barsebäck in Sweden in 2003 and secured the half that won The Cup outright in Colorado, is the most experienced player in the team, along with Suzann Pettersen. The 46-year-old from Scotland said: “Obviously I was delighted and very excited when Carin gave me the phone call and I can’t wait to play in The Solheim Cup. It has always been my favourite event and to play as part of a team is so good! Since winning in Colorado my main aim has been to get in the team. As you get older, it gets harder to qualify but this will be my eighth one so it will be great to play at home and defend it hopefully.”
Carin Koch, who will lead Europe for the first time, commented: “We’ve got a great mixture of youth and experience which really excites me as Captain. Each of our players has a role to play and I have a team of stars. Now the team is finalised we can all have full focus for the week in Germany and I can’t wait to see the players together at Golf Club St Leon-Rot.”
The next Ladies European Tour event is the Helsingborg Open where Hedwall will make a star appearance in her home town in Sweden. All 24 members of the European and United States teams will then play in the Evian Championship in France before travelling directly to Germany for The Solheim Cup.
The European team:
Carlota Ciganda, Spain
Sandra Gal, Germany
Caroline Hedwall, Sweden
Charley Hull, England
Karine Icher, France
Caroline Masson, Germany
Catriona Matthew, Scotland
Azahara Muñoz, Spain
Gwladys Nocera, France
Anna Nordqvist, Sweden
Suzann Pettersen, Norway
Melissa Reid, England
photos Janos Schmidt