Brittany Lincicome had good reason to smile as she watched the rain tumble from the sky during the first official practice day ahead of The 2015 Solheim Cup at St Leon-Rot.
This year’s Solheim Cup course was already set to be played at over 6,500 yards and the heavy showers were guaranteed to give an even greater advantage to the big-hitters like the blonde American.
The 14th Solheim Cup starts tomorrow (Friday) and after two days of wet weather we are going to see a lot of players hitting fairway woods and hybrids into greens. “It’s great,” said Lincicome who knows very well the conditions will be in her favour but the same can be said for several other players as well.
A glance at the statistics shows that Lincicome is the longest hitter in either of this week’s teams with a driving distance average of 270.11 yards. She’s just ahead of compatriot Lexi Thompson (268.27) when it comes to Driving Distance but the Europeans also have their bombers and it should be noted Carlota Ciganda (267.17) and Melissa Reid (265.31) are next on the list.
The fact is it is extremely difficult to gauge which team will benefit most from the wet underfoot conditions. Each team has five players in the top-10 of the Driving Distance table although it may be significant that at the other end of the scale the US team has four players in the bottom five on that list – Morgan Pressel (248.34), Stacy Lewis (246.98), Paula Creamer (244.04) and Lizette Salas (239.58) – compared to just one European – Karine Icher (242.60).
What is clear is that all the players are delighted with the way the course has been prepared for this year’s match.
“The course is awesome,” said Lincicome. “It’s where you’d want to practise every day of the week. It’s definitely wet. There’s a lot of standing water out there but the grounds crew have done an amazing job.
“The greens are about as pure as we’ve seen all year,” agreed team-mate Angela Stanford and a succession of European players also queued up to relay the same message.
“The course is in great shape,” said Azahara Munoz. “It’s beautiful. It’s pretty wet but it’s still playable. We just hope it stops raining and we get a bit of sun to dry the course up a little bit. But the greens are rolling super nice.”
“I like the golf course and hopefully the weather will cooperate from tomorrow,” said veteran Scot, Catriona Matthew. “The fairways are fairly generous but if you do go in the rough you can take three or four minutes to find your ball. It’s pretty thick in there.”
That brings a different set of statistics into focus and it is noticeable that two of the shorter hitters are top of the Driving Accuracy statistical table. Salas (who hits 80.6% of fairways) leads the way just ahead of compatriot Lewis (78.3%). But next on the list come Gwladys Nocera (75.94%) and Icher (75.7%) which suggests in that area as well there is little to separate the two teams.