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The 2015 European Solheim Cup Team Captain Carin Koch has announced that Sophie Gustafson and Maria McBride (formerly Hjorth) will join Annika Sörenstam as her Vice Captains when Europe targets victory over the United States at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Germany on 18-20 September.
Between them, Gustafson, McBride and Sörenstam have played in 21 Solheim Cups, with no fewer than six wins and 122 tournament titles to their credit.
“I am extremely proud to have assembled one of the most experienced and accomplished back room teams imaginable,” said Koch, who served as a Vice Captain to Liselotte Neumann in 2013.
Sophie Gustafson, an eight-time Solheim Cup participant (1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011), was a member of three winning European teams in 2000, 2003 and 2011. She has earned 16 points for Team Europe, with an all-time record of 13-12-6, most recently posting four points from as many matches in 2011 at Killeen Castle in Ireland. A Life Member of the Ladies European Tour, Gustafson has been the LET’s order of merit winner four times and earned 26 international career titles.
“It’s a great honour to be named Vice Captain,” said Gustafson, a key helper at The 2013 Solheim Cup in Colorado, where Team Europe secured an historic first away victory. “The Solheim Cup to me is pure passion. You play with guts for glory and one way or another I was always going to be in St. Leon-Rot in September, even if it was just to fetch coffee for Carin. As a helper in Colorado last time around I feel I did some good and getting to step up from there to Vice Captain is going to be great fun.”
Maria McBride is a five-time European Solheim Cup Team participant (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011) who also played on the victorious team in Ireland. With a 6-10-5 record, she has earned 8 ½ points for Team Europe, as well as seven career titles on the LPGA and Ladies European Tours combined. She is wife to golf coach Shaun McBride and mother to six year old daughter, Emily.
“I am very honoured and proud to be named a Vice Captain for The 2015 Solheim Cup team. I have been involved in five teams, all playing of course, but to have a chance to help Europe inside the ropes in a different way is wonderful. I am very excited about the job and can’t wait for September to come. I hope that I can bring experience, guidance, friendship and laughter.”
Carin Koch said:
“I am delighted that Sophie accepted to be one of my Vice Captains, she has shown such strength over the years in Solheim, her record and contribution speaks for itself. Mimmi has played a hugely important role in recent Solheims. It’s great with her being based in the U.S. as I have another set of eyes that can follow the European players based over there. She had a fantastic top five finish the other week in Texas.
“With my back room team complete and less than four months to go until the 14th staging of the event in Germany, we will now step up preparations to secure a win at Golf Club St Leon-Rot.”
The Solheim Cup
The Solheim Cup combines the tradition and prestige of the game of golf with passion for one’s country. This biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition features the best U.S.-born players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour and the best European members from the Ladies European Tour (LET). The Solheim Cup is named in honour of Karsten Solheim, the founder of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, which makes PING golf equipment. In 1990, the Solheim family, in conjunction with the LPGA and the LET, developed the concept and became the title sponsor for the Solheim Cup, professional golf’s international match-play competition for women. Held every two years, the event has grown into the most prestigious international women’s professional golf team event.
The Solheim Cup is the most highly coveted trophy in women’s professional golf team competition; some of the most memorable moments in the sport have happened during past Solheim Cups, and berths on the European and U.S. teams are highly sought-after by players from both organisations.
The 2015 Solheim Cup will take place Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club near Heidelberg, Germany. The European Team enters the competition holding the Cup and will need 14 points to retain it, with the U.S. Team needing 14½ points to regain the coveted Waterford Crystal prize.
The U.S. squad holds an 8-5 lead in the series, which began in 1990, and is coming oﬀ back-to-back losses (2011, 2013) for the ﬁrst time in history. Juli Inkster is captain of the U.S. Team, with Sweden’s Carin Koch leading the European squad.
For more information about the Solheim Cup and updated standings for each team, visit www.solheimcup.com.
Holly Aitchison, Maria Balikoeva, Heather MacRae, Lauren Taylor and Kylie Walker earned their place in the 2015 US Women’s Open Championship after the second European Sectional Qualifier was played at Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London on Monday.
Russian Maria Balikoeva set the 36-hole clubhouse target with a total of 140, four under par, before England’s Holly Aitchison returned matching scores of 72 and 68. Heather MacRae of Scotland, who started with a 75 in the morning, then bettered that score by ten strokes in the afternoon with a second round of seven under par 65 to join the pair in qualifying for their first US Women’s Open, which will be played at Lancaster Country Club on July 9-12.
Five competitors tied on three under par and went to a sudden death play-off on the par-3 ninth hole to determine the final two spots in the championship.
Beth Allen of the USA, England’s Georgia Hall and Patricia Sanz Barrio from Spain joined Lauren Taylor and Kylie Walker in returning to the ninth tee. Sanz Barrio was eliminated with a bogey on the first extra hole, before Taylor secured her place with a birdie. Playing under intense pressure, Taylor hit a pure 5-iron from 179 yards and made a putt of four feet to secure her first appearance in the US Women’s Open.
“It couldn’t have gone better,” said Taylor, 21, from Woburn Golf Club. “I finished birdie, birdie and then to go into a play-off and birdie the hole was really fun.
“I tried to control my nerves and the tee shot was fine but when I realised this was to make the US Women’s Open I tried to get that shot out of my mind. It was a nice fist pump at the end and all of the adrenaline went out of my mind.”
On the second extra hole of sudden death, Allen hit her tee shot into the bunker behind the green and took a two-putt bogey while Walker and Hall both made threes.
At the third extra hole, Walker almost holed in one but her perfectly judged 5-iron tee shot ended a foot past the hole and she tapped-in for birdie, while Hall three putted. Walker seems to be somewhat of an expert in play-offs, having won both of her Ladies European Tour titles last year in similar circumstances.
“I’m really delighted to get through and excited about heading to America,” said the 28-year-old from Mar Hall Golf Club. “I actually birdied my last two holes in regulation play to get back to three under so I was really happy with that and even getting into the play-off. In the play-off I went par, par, birdie at the end. I hit a 5-iron and from back there you couldn’t really see the ball finish because we were losing daylight but the crowd roared and then I just tapped in.”
All five players will be heading for their first US Women’s Open, having had sensational finishes. Aitchison birdied the last three holes and commented: “Everyone wants to play in a major and this is going to be my first major outside of Britain, because I’ve only played in the British Open before. It’s going to be a really, really good experience and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
MacRae was six under par on the back nine, with five birdies in six holes from the 10th and another on the 18th. The tearful 31-year-old from Archerfield Links said: “It’s unbelievable. I’m so happy. I thought three under was going to be okay and when I got to 18 and saw that I needed to be four otherwise it was a play-off and I needed my putt to go in. Once I hit it from eight feet short of the hole I knew that it was in. It was one of those afternoons where I stood on the tee and knew that I was going to hit the fairway. I stood on the fairway and knew that I was going to hit the ball close on the green and I knew that I was going to make the putt.
“The last major I played in was when I was an amateur in 2005 and I’ve not played a tournament in the States since I was at university over there so I’m really excited to see what it’s like and I’m looking forward to playing here again in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters in July, because I’ve not played in that either.”
Balikoeva said that she felt at home on the golf course where she spent a lot of time practising in 2014. She said:
“The first 18 I really struggled with my short putting and I missed four little putts so I knew I was playing good but I relaxed on the second round and played a little better and holed more putts. This is the first step to something bigger.”
The third of the five women’s major championships gets under way in Pennsylvania in seven weeks’ time.
On Wednesday England’s Melissa Reid was a very popular winner of the 2015 Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, an event she had previously won in 2010. It was a convincing and well deserved win as she led from start to finish.
The 27-year-old fired rounds of 65, 69, 74 and 73 at Carya Golf Club in Belek, Antalya, Turkey for a total of 11 under par and a four stroke win over the current leader of the 2015 Order of Merit, France’s Gwladys Nocera.
As she holed the 18th she was drenched with a ‘champagne shower’ by fellow golfers as they shared Melissa’s Turkish delight at winning her fifth Ladies European Tour title.
“When you win you want to win properly and to lead every single day has been nice. I’ve not been in that position before, so to win in that way does make it extra special,” said Reid.
Melissa Reid’s last victory came at the Prague Golf Masters in 2012, which she won a month after the tragic loss of her mother, Joy, and her success in Turkey completed a difficult emotional journey for the popular and talented player.
Following the victory she said she now feels that her game is better than ever:
“I’ve got a fantastic team around me which I can’t give enough credit to and I’ve been working with Kevin Craggs. He’s been amazing and a massive influence not just on my career but on my life. It’s been a difficult journey and it’s not one I want to go through again but it makes the win even sweeter and I’ve stepped it up a bit and it’s just the beginning really.”
The Turkish Airlines Ladies Open was the first major tournament to be played from Sunday to Wednesday instead of the traditional Thursday to Sunday; and the experiment has been hailed as a great success. Live TV coverage is a must if ladies golf is to grow its audience and popularity and receive the recognition in deserves and in an attempt to suit TV scheduling the Sunday to Wednesday tournament was a success.
Sky Sports showed highlights of the first two days play followed by live coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing them to concentrate on the BMWPGA Championship at Wentworth come Thursday.
The Ladies European Tour (LET) ran successfully social media campaigns using the hashtags #LETwednesday & #LOVEwednesday and it appears that the first golf tournament on any major golf tour to finish on a Wednesday was a complete success with fans, sponsors and media around the world. So it looks like this revolutionary idea is here to stay.
Laura Davies, Kylie Walker and Sally Watson tied for third place on six under par, while Pamela Pretswell slipped into sixth place after a final round of 78.
Sally Watson said:
“I am pleased. I was three shots back at the start of the day and with the wind and tough conditions it was tough to put a low score together to catch Melissa. I can’t complain with a third place finish: highest of the year so far.”
Laura Davies said:
“It’s been a great week to be honest with you, I’ve really enjoyed the concept. I love the golf course. I just wish we played it here every year because it’s a great course for the girls and gives us a chance to play some really good golf and make lots of birdies. Mel made more than most of us, but overall I’m really pleased. I had one bad day with the putter and it really cost me dearly, but I’m happy with the way I’m hitting it.”
Turkish Airlines Ladies Open Collated final scores:
281 – Melissa Reid (ENG) 65 69 74 73
285 – Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 68 70 76 71
286 – Kylie Walker (SCO) 72 74 68 72, Sally Watson (SCO) 72 71 68 75, Laura Davies (ENG) 66 77 71 72
287 – Pamela Pamela Pretswell (SCO) 72 65 72 78
288 – Titiya Plucksataporn (THA) 71 73 72 72, Lucie Andre (FRA) 71 70 71 76, Emily Kristine Pedersen (DNK) 75 73 70 70
290 – Rebecca Artis (AUS) 69 71 72 78, Lynn Carlsson (SWE) 72 71 72 75, Beth Allen (USA) 72 71 73 74, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (DNK) 72 75 67 76, Carly Booth (SCO) 70 70 75 75
291 – Isabelle Boineau (FRA) 70 73 73 75, Marianne Skarpnord (NOR) 72 74 74 71, Patricia Sanz Barrio (ESP) 74 74 72 71, Lina Boqvist (SWE) 73 73 70 75, Louise Stahle (SWE) 76 73 69 73
292 – Lauren Taylor (ENG) 71 76 72 73, Bree Arthur (AUS) 76 72 68 76, Camilla Lennarth (SWE) 71 71 76 74, Chloe Leurquin (BEL) 70 73 73 76, Tonje Daffinrud (NOR) 75 68 72 77, Georgia Hall (ENG) 72 71 77 72, Malene Jorgensen (DEN) 70 75 75 72
293 – Ursula Wikstrom (FIN) 72 76 72 73, Liz Young (ENG) 71 74 72 76
294 – Amy Boulden (WAL) 71 70 79 74, Caroline Afonso (FRA) 76 73 71 74, Stefania Croce (ITA) 77 74 70 73
295 – Christine Wolf (AUT) 75 74 72 74, Nicole Broch Larsen (DEN) 80 71 66 78, Fabienne In-albon (SWI) 73 74 74 74, Caroline Martens (NOR) 69 80 73 73, Stacy Lee Bregman (RSA) 73 70 74 78, Ssu-Chia Cheng (TPE) 75 73 76 71, Maria Balikoeva (RUS) 73 76 75 71
296 – Florentyna Parker (ENG) 73 75 72 76, Holly Clyburn (ENG) 73 74 77 72, Stacey Keating (AUS) 77 74 72 73
297 – Miriam Nagl (BRA) 74 76 72 75
298 – Marta Sanz Barrio (ESP) 78 73 73 74, Marion Ricordeau (FRA) 74 77 70 77, Klara Spilkova (CZE) 77 69 75 77, Daisy Nielsen (DEN) 76 73 72 77
299 – Maha Haddioui (MAR) 74 75 74 76, Ann-Kathrin Lindner (GER) 76 73 74 76
300 – Laura Jansone (LVA) 76 71 75 78, Monique Smit (RSA) 75 75 76 74, Noora Tamminen (FIN) 69 82 74 75
301 – Sophie Sandolo (ITA) 74 77 74 76
302 – Holly Aitchison (ENG) 75 75 77 75, Nicole Garcia (RSA) 75 75 77 75
303 – Linda Henriksson (FIN) 72 79 77 75, Alex Peters (ENG) 75 76 76 76, Vikki Laing (SCO) 73 70 83 77, Melissa Eaton (RSA) 72 74 80 77, Lien Willems (BEL) 72 79 75 77
304 – Nina Holleder (GER) 79 72 76 77, Csilla Lajtai-rozsa (HUN) 74 74 80 76
305 – Diana Luna (ITA) 75 76 76 78
306 – Martyna Mierzwa (POL) 73 77 80 76, Emma Goddard (ENG) 78 73 77 78
307 – Steffi Kirchmayr (GER) 73 77 79 78, Virginia Espejo (ESP) 73 74 83 77
311 – Hannah Ralph (ENG) 74 76 77 84
313 – Emma Westin (SWE) 78 73 76 86
Melissa Reid kept the lead for a third successive day at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open despite being caught by Pamela Pretswell after 15 holes.
Reid made a slow start in the scorching conditions at Carya Golf Club in Belek, Turkey on Tuesday afternoon and played the front nine in level par before making a double bogey on the par-4 12th hole.
The 2010 tournament winner was caught at 10 under by Pamela Pretswell when the 26-year-old from Scotland birdied the 15th hole, but after both players birdied the 17th, Pretswell dropped a shot on the uphill par-4 18th to give Reid a one stroke advantage at 11 under par.
Melissa Reid explained,
“The greens are borderline unplayable, they are so firm. We were struggling to hold wedges onto it and Gwladys hit a couple of really nice chips and they ran out 15 yards. It was tough. I always felt like I was in between clubs. I was needing a nine and a half iron, eight and a half iron. I’m quite happy in a way that I’ve played it in these conditions because hopefully tomorrow I can play a bit better.”
Pamela Pretswell had five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the 10th hole in her third round of 72. After her round she said:
“It was a wee bit tougher today because the course kind of changed midway with the warm weather. The course started to dry out a bit and the greens got a little bit faster. I played some good stuff but has a couple of bad holes which let me down, but I’m happy with the way I played today.”
Fellow Scot Sally Watson occupies third place after a five under par 68, while there are four Scots in the top 12 places. Watson said:
“It’s nice to have a couple of Scots up there on the leader board. It’s a good thing for Scottish golf and I’m still a couple back, so I’ll keep fighting on every shot and try to claw back shots as quickly as I can.”
Lucie Andre of France and Australian Rebecca Artis are tied for fourth place, with leading Ladies European Tour rookie Nanna Koertz Madsen of Denmark, England’s Laura Davies, Scot Kylie Walker and Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera in a share of sixth on five under par. Scotland’s Carly Booth, Norwegian Tonje Daffinrud and Lynn Carlsson from Sweden are tied for 10th place.
The Turkish Airlines Ladies Open is the first tournament on any major golf tour to finish on a Wednesday, with the aim to increase live television coverage. So far the weather has been hot and sunny, and the weather forecast for the final round ıs …. SCORCHİO!
Turkish Airlines Ladies Open scores after round 3:
208 – Melissa Reid (ENG) 65 69 74
209 – Pamela Pretswell (SCO) 72 65 72
211 – Sally Watson (SCO) 72 71 68
212 – Rebecca Artis (AUS) 69 71 72, Lucie Andre (FRA) 71 70 71
214 – Nanna Koerstz Madsen (DNK) 72 75 67, Laura Davies (ENG) 66 77 71, Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 68 70 76, Kylie Walker (SCO) 72 74 68
215 – Lynn Carlsson (SWE) 72 71 72, Carly Booth (SCO) 70 70 75, Tonje Daffinrud (NOR) 75 68 72