Half of this year’s potential European Solheim Cup team have confirmed their participation in the inaugural Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open, to be played on 20-23 April, at Terramar Golf Club, in Sitges, Spain.
Sweden’s Anna Norqvist will be joined by home heroine Carlota Ciganda, French veteran Karine Icher and the English trio Georgia Hall, Melissa Reid and Florentyna Parker in the full-field LET event near Barcelona.
While six of the current top eight players on the European Rankings have already committed to play, there are plenty of other players for Annika Sorenstam to consider for one of her four captain’s selections.
They include the 2015 Rookie of the Year Emily Kristine Pedersen, the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open winner Isabelle Boineau and the 2016 Andalucia Open de España winner, Azahara Muñoz and Gwladys Nocera.
Nordqvist is the top ranked European at number 10 on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and she is in fantastic form following her recent win at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in the USA. The 29-year-old four-time Solheim Cup participant has a strong record in Spain. After winning the LET Q-School at La Manga Club in December 2008, she finished second at the 2010 Madrid Ladies Masters and then won the Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Cup, partnering Sophie Gustafson in the team event at La Sella Resort in Alicante in 2010 and 2011.
Ciganda is another player to watch and is full of confidence after two wins on the LPGA in 2016. The 26-year-old two-time Solheim Cup player from Pamplona finished second at the 2014 Open de España and would be a popular home winner. She earned two LET titles in her first year as a professional in 2012, when she became the first player since Laura Davies to win the Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year prizes in the same year.
Icher is another Solheim Cup prospect in the field. The 38-year-old five-time LET winner led during the first round of the ANA Inspiration, which was the season’s first Major and is a three-time European Solheim Cup team member.
Adding to their combined experience is the 29-year-old Reid, who earned her sixth LET title at the Oates Vic Open in Australia in February. Amongst Reid’s other victories is the 2011 Open de España Femenino, which she won just before making her Solheim Cup debut as part of the victorious European team in Ireland.
Fellow Englishwoman Georgia Hall, who joined the LET in 2015, currently occupies first place on the Solheim Cup points list and is looking to make her event debut in mid-August. Hall has previously represented Europe as part of the 2013 PING Junior Solheim Cup team at The Inverness Hotel & Country Club in Colorado. Last year, the 20-year-old posted eight top-10s and started 2017 with a tie for third at the recent SGF67 World Ladies Championship in China.
Florentyna Parker is another English player vying for a debut Solheim Cup appearance after eight top-10 finishes in 2016, including two second places. Parker is a two-time winner on the LET, at the 2010 ABN AMRO Ladies Open and 2014 Ladies Italian Open and represented Europe as part of the 2005 PING Junior Solheim Cup team at Bridgewater Club in Indiana.
With a large cast of potential European team members and the presence of the captain and vice-captain, Marta Figueras-Dotti, the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open is shaping up to be a spectacular preamble to The 2017 Solheim Cup, which takes place on 18-20 August at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.