Junior Solheim Cup: Europe uses strong Day One to defend its title
European Solheim Cup Team (Ladies European Tour Photo)
European Solheim Cup Team (Ladies European Tour Photo)

Team Europe made it back-to-back wins at the PING Junior Solheim Cup and defended their crown for the first time in history after defeating USA 15-9 at La Zagaleta, Spain.

The home side, led by captain Gwladys Nocera and vice-captain Nora Angehrn, had stormed to a convincing five-point lead on day one thanks to some formidable foursomes golf in the morning.

Returning on Tuesday for an exciting day of singles, the European U18 side completed the job, winning six matches and drawing one to hoist the trophy once again.

Captain Nocera said: “Being a captain is easy when you have a team like this! We really loved the course but I think it was due to a really good preparation. These girls know how to do it, and they work really hard. I have to congratulate them for all the work they have put in during the season and over these two days of completion.”

With 12.5 points the target on day two, USA came out fighting as Jasmine Koo defeated Andrea Revuelta of Spain 2&1 in the opening match.

In match two, Francesca Fiorellini of Italy made it three wins from three as she beat Anna Davis 5&3 thanks to some incredible iron play.

Team Europe added another shortly after as Nora Sundberg of Sweden won 4&2 against Gianna Clemente.

Despite needing just two more points to defend their title, a wave of red soon emerged on the scoreboard – Yana Wilson defeated Yana Beeli of Switzerland on the final hole, Kathryn Ha came from three down to edge past Anna Canado of Spain with a birdie on the last, and Leigh Chien beat Josefin Widal of Sweden 3&2.

But with Savannah De Bock of Belgium continuing her fine form to win 4&3 against Megan Meng, Cloe Amion of Spain – 1UP on Elizabeth Rudisill coming down the last – was able to two-putt for victory to seal the 2023 PING Junior Solheim Cup.

In the concluding matches, Meja Örtengren of Sweden found her best form to beat Irene Kim 4&3. Denisa Vodickova of Czechia won her third match of the week, defeating Anna Song 2&1.

Helen Briem of Germany was narrowly defeated by Ryleigh Knaub 1UP, while Rocio Tojedo of Spain, the star of yesterday’s foursomes, halved her match against Asterisk Talley.

A winner in 2021, Briem said: “The first time was special because it was in America, but this one was way better. To win two times in a row is indescribable.

“I think it’s just so cool because we’re all so different. We’re from different countries but fight together. We have so many personalities, which is so cool. We were really focused the last few days, and the fun part is still to come. I’m really looking forward to the Solheim Cup. It’s going to be a really cool four days.”

While Sundberg added: “I can’t describe this week. It’s been so much fun. It’s unbelievable how good this team is and how good all the people are personality-wise. It’s been an incredible experience. We were thinking about jumping into the pool with our clothes on, so we’ll see!”

And jump in the pool they did, making history as the first European side to win the PING Junior Solheim Cup in back-to-back editions.

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ABOUT THE Junior Solheim Cup

Inaugurated in 2002, The PING Junior Solheim Cup is a version of The Solheim Cup for female amateurs born after 2001 and follows a similar format to the biennial event, featuring the top 12 European junior amateurs versus their U.S counterparts. College/university golfers are ineligible to participate in the event, even if they meet the age cutoff. The event is held over two days, with six four-ball and six foursomes matches the first day, and twelve singles matches the second day.

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