Spain’s Ana Pelaez looks set to make her PING Junior Solheim Cup debut after winning the ANNIKA Invitational Europe at Bro-Bålsta GK in Sweden.
Pelaez put together rounds of 69, 69 and 72 to finish three shots ahead of England’s Sophie Lamb and compatriot Maria Parra, and her victory was enough to take her to the top of the PING Junior Solheim Cup European Ranking with just one counting event – next week‘s Girls‘ British Open Amateur Championship at West Kilbride, Scotland – left to go.
Parra’s performance at Bro-Bålsta – where she recovered from an opening 75 with rounds of 67 and 71 – moved her up to third place on the Ranking with the top-six at the end of the qualification period all earning automatic places on the European team for this year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup at St Leon-Rot Golf Club on September 14-15. The team will be completed with six Captain’s picks.
European Captain Iben Tinning was on site at ANNIKA Invitational Europe and said: “I have seen great golf and feel confident we will get a strong European team and I look forward to some really good matches in Germany in September. For me it is a privilage to be part in helping these young girls in the right direction and share my experience“.
Heading into the final qualifying event in Scotland, Pelaez heads the European Ranking with 90 points ahead of France’s Agathe Laisne (70 points) and Parra (62.5). The rest of the top-10 (in order) comprise Denmark’s Puk Lyng Thomsen (52.5), Germany’s Leonie Harm (42.5), Austria’s Emma Spitz, Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey and Sweden’s Elin Esborn (all 40 points), England’s Alice Hewson (35) and Germany’s Esther Henseleit (30). Lamb moves up to twelfth place on the Ranking after her performance in Sweden where she opened with a six under par 67 before carding rounds of 71 and 75.
The Girls‘ British Open Amateur Championship will take on double significance for all the competitors hoping to secure one of the coveted places in a European PING Junior Solheim Cup team bidding to win the trophy back from the Americans for the first time since 2007. The Europeans did halve the 2011 match at Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort in Co. Meath, Ireland, but, under the rules of the competition, the vistitors retained the trophy as holders.
Pelaez will start among the favorites at West Kilbride after a recent run of form that also saw her finish second behind Spitz in the individual event at the European Girls‘ Team Championship at the Kaskáda Golf Resort in the Czech Republic. Both tee up at West Kilbride alongside Laisne, Parra, Thomsen, Harm, Mehaffey, Esborn and Henseleit.