The top girl golfers from Europe will be going to Portugal in January for the start of the 2017 PING Junior Solheim Cup qualification process.

The Portuguese International Ladies’ Amateur Championship, to be played at Montado Golf Resort, Portugal, January 25-28, 2017, is the first of nine events offering ranking points for the biennial match, to be played at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in Iowa, United States, on August 15-16, 2017.

The qualifying process runs from January until mid-July, following the European Girls’ Team Championship. At the end of the process, the first six players in the PING Junior Solheim Cup European ranking will earn an automatic place on the European team, with the team being completed by six Captain’s picks. All amateur events and the European Women’s Amateur Ranking will be taken into consideration when deciding the Captain’s Picks.

To qualify for the European team, participants must be girls aged 12-18 years old (born 1999 or later) and must not have reached their 18th birthday prior to January 1st, 2017. Prospective team members must be amateurs and cannot be members of a competitive collegiate golf programme. They must also be European citizens.

The inaugural PING Junior Solheim Cup was staged in 2002 at Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins, Minnesota, and has been competed for eight times, with five wins to the United States, two wins to Europe and one tie. Solheim Cup stars such as Azahara Munoz, Paula Creamer, Britanny Lincicome, Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel all played in that inaugural match in 2002 and they were followed by Carlota Ciganda, Caroline Hedwall, Charley Hull, Caroline Masson, Anna Nordqvist, Beatrice Recari, Mel Reid, Vicky Hurst, Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson and Alison Lee in more recent matches.

In 2017, the event will continue the success from 2015 in staging the junor event at the same venue as The Solheim Cup, which gives the juniors a great opportunity to follow women’s golf at the highest level, while also getting close to their role models and learning from the world’s best. It is an inspirational week for everyone involved. John Solheim, PING Chairman and CEO and Founder of the PING Junior Solheim Cup, is pleased with the development:

“Our vision for the PING Junior Solheim Cup is for it to continue to help advance girls’ golf around the world by bringing together the top juniors from Europe and the United States on an international stage,” Mr Solheim said.

“Since starting the event in 2002, we’ve been delighted with the results as the interest and excitement from the golf community has exceeded our expectations. The players on each side strive to make their teams for the honour of representing their countries and come away with lifelong memories and friendships. A large number of the participants have gone on to play major roles in winning The Solheim Cup itself, giving us all a glimpse into the future of the women’s game. The interest and spirit of the fans continues to grow, ensuring a passion-filled event where tremendous skill and sportsmanship are on display from the very first tee shot.

“We’re looking forward to the 2017 event at Des Moines Golf & Country Club. It marks the second straight time the PING Junior Solheim Cup will be played at the same venue as The Solheim Cup, bringing participants in both events closer together as they experience their lifelong dreams of playing golf for the honour of their continent and country.”

The full list of qualifying events for the 2017 PING Junior Solheim Cup, to be held on August 15-16, 2017 at Des Moines Golf & Country Club, is as follows:

– Portuguese International Ladies’ Amateur Championship, Montado Golf Resort, Portugal (Jan 25-28)

– Spanish International Ladies’ Amateur Championship, Sherry Golf Jerez, Spain (March 1-5)

– French International Lady Junior Championship, GC St Cloud, France (April 13-17)

– Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open, Championship, Troon GC, Scotland (April 21-23)

– Allianz German Girls’ Open, GC St. Leon-Rot, Germany (June 1-3)

– Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, Pale & Kenfig CC, Wales (June 13-17)

– ANNIKA Invitational Europe, Halmstad GK, Sweden (June 20-22)

– European Girls’ Team Championship, St Laurence GC, Finland (July 11-15)

– European Ladies’ Team Championship, Montado Golf Resort, Portugal (July 11-15)