European Captain Iben Tinning is expecting an intense battle for places when qualification for the European PING Junior Solheim Cup team gets underway in Spain on Wednesday.
The Danish former Solheim Cup player has been studying the statistics and she believes there will be more competition for places than there has ever been before in the lead up to this year’s match at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot on September 14-15.
“It’s going to be a tough team to get onto,” said the four-time Solheim Cup player. “We have a lot more strength in depth than we used to and the players now seem to come from all over Europe.
“A lot of our most experienced amateurs are no longer eligible but there are more than enough younger players to take their place. There’s a strong nucleus of 16-17 year-olds but also quite a few 14-15 year-olds who are already playing well enough to challenge for the top girls’ titles.”
Altogether there are a total of eight qualification events with the Spanish International Ladies‘ Amateur at Real Club Pineda de Sevilla, Spain (Feb 25-March 1) being followed by the French International Lady Junior Championship at GC St Cloud, France (April 2-6), the German Girls’ Open at GC St. Leon-Rot Germany (June 5-7), the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Portstewart GC, Northern Ireland (June 9-13), the European Girls’ Team Championship at Golf Resort Kaskada Brno, Czech Republic (July 7-11), the European Ladies’ Team Championship at Helsingør, Denmark (July 7-11) and the ANNIKA Invitational Europe at Bro-Bålsta, Sweden (August 4-6) before being completed at the Girls’ British Open Championship at West Kilbride, Scotland, on August 10-14, 2015.
At the end of the qualification process the first six players on the Ranking will earn an automatic place on the European team with the team being completed with six Captain’s picks.
″It‘s a long haul so I would advise the girls not to get upset if they don’t get off to a great start in Spain and France,″ said Tinning.
″I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish the girls all the best as they try to qualify for this year‘s team. I know a lot of the European girls will be desperate to make the side but if I had one bit of advice it would be to relax and play their own games rather than try to chase a place.
″I remember I did that back in 2009 when Alison Nicholas was captain of our Solheim Cup team. I was desperate to play on her side but all that did was to increase the pressure on me and I ended up missing out.
″I’d recommend that the girls focus on their own games“, she added. ″I’m sure if they can do that they will have a much better chance of making the team.″
PING Junior Solheim Cup founder, John Solheim, the Chairman and CEO of PING, is looking forward to following the qualification process and to the subsequent match at St Leon-Rot in which Europe will be bidding to cut the American’s 4-2-1 lead in the series.
“Representing Europe and their home country on a PING Junior Solheim Cup team is an honour few girls are privileged to experience,” said Solheim. “With eight qualifying events in eight countries, we’ll be watching with great anticipation as the best compete to earn the 12 coveted spots on Captain Tinning’s European team.
“The girls who make the team will experience a thrilling competition in Germany against their American opponents, while forming friendships that will last a lifetime.”
This year’s Spanish Ladies’ International Amateur has attracted a strong field from all across Europe. It includes Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela, Spaniard’s Maria Parra and Alejandra Pasarin, France’s Eva Gilly and Agathe Laisne, Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey, England’s Sophie Lamb and Hollie Muse, Germany’s Esther Henseleit and Sweden’s Filippa Möörk all of whom meet the age requirement to qualify for this year’s European PING Junior Solheim Cup team.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup 2015 is to be played at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot on September 14-15 immediately ahead of The Solheim Cup, which is staged at the same German golf club on September 18-20. It is the first time the same venue has been used for both matches.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup is a team match play competition between Europe and the United States, each team featuring the best 12 female golfers 18 years of age and younger.
The competition consist of 24 matches – six foursome matches, six fourball matches and 12 single matches.
The aim of the competition is to give juniors the opportunity to further their golfing careers by playing matchplay at a high level and also for the competitors to meet, learn and be inspired by the professional players playing in The Solheim Cup.
The 2015 event marks the eighth time the PING Junior Solheim Cup team will be contested with the US Team currently leading the series 4-2-1.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup was established by PING CEO and Chairman, John Solheim, back in 2002 and since has developed a deserved reputation for showcasing the talents of the world’s best female junior players with Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda, Beatriz Recari, Melissa Reid, Charley Hull, Caroline Masson, Caroline Hedwall, Paula Creamer, Vicky Hurst, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Jessica Korda, and Lexi Thompson all playing in the match before graduating to The Solheim Cup.