Cap­tains go for youth in Sol­heim Cup se­lec­tions

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

US cap­tain Juli Inkster added a pair of rook­ies to her Sol­heim Cup team for matches that will see plenty of new faces. Inkster, the cap­tain for the sec­ond straight time, added 18-year-old An­gel Yin and Austin Ernst to her 10 au­to­matic qual­i­fiers. She passed over the ex­pe­ri­ence in Paula Creamer and six-time Sol­heim Cup veteran An­gela Stan­ford. Creamer, a cap­tain’s pick in 2015, will miss her first Sol­heim Cup since she turned pro.

“This has been a re­ally tough day,” said Inkster, her­self a nine-time Sol­heim Cup par­tic­i­pant. “I don’t know if there’s ever been so many peo­ple in the run­ning for two cap­tain’s picks. I could have gone a lot of dif­fer­ent ways. But in the end I went with my gut, and who I thought de­served a chance to play. I hope it turns out OK. That’s all I can say.”

The Sol­heim Cup is Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf and Coun­try Club. The Amer­i­cans ral­lied to beat Europe two years ago in Ger­many and have a 9-5 record in the se­ries that dates to 1990. The 10 qual­i­fiers for the United States were Women’s PGA cham­pion Danielle Kang, Cristie Kerr, Jes­sica Korda, Brit­tany Lang, Stacy Lewis, Brit­tany Lin­ci­come, Ge­rina Piller, Lizette Salas, Lexi Thomp­son and Michelle Wie. All but Kang have played in the matches.

Euro­pean cap­tain Annika Soren­stam also pre­ferred youth rather than fa­mil­iar­ity with the Sol­heim’s uniquely par­ti­san at­mos­phere. Former Women’s Bri­tish Open cham­pion Catriona Matthew - an eight­time Sol­heim Cup player - was one of those left dis­ap­pointed, although the 48-year old Scot will still make the trip to Iowa as one of Soren­stam’s as­sis­tant cap­tains.

“It is al­ways hard to say ‘no’ to some­one who lives for the Sol­heim Cup,” Soren­stam said. “She was in­volved in the plans and knew the play­ers we were talk­ing about and that made it awk­ward at times. But she has been strong and ma­ture and I am happy to have her on the team ei­ther way.”

Four of Europe’s play­ers - Emily Ped­er­sen of Den­mark, Made­lene Sagstrom of Swe­den and English pair Ge­or­gia Hall and Floren­tine Parker - will be mak­ing their Sol­heim Cup de­buts, with Ped­er­sen and Sagstrom two of Soren­stam’s four picks.

The other wild cards - Anna Nordqvist and Caro­line Mas­son - will be mak­ing their fifth and third ap­pear­ances in Europe’s col­ors, re­spec­tively. Round­ing out the Euro­pean team were Car­lotta Ci­ganda, Charley Hull, Karine Icher, Suzann Pet­tersen, Melissa Reid and Jodi Ewart Shad­off. — AP

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