Italian Letizia Bagnoli has claimed an early lead in the race to earn a place in the European PING Junior Solheim Cup team.

The 17 year-old, who led the tournament from beginning to end, tops the European Ranking following the Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Championship at Montado Golf Resort with 50 points and scores of 67, 73, 72, 70 (-6). Letizia is followed by Line Toft Hansen, Denmark, 40 points; Beatrice Wallin, Sweden, Mathilde Claisse, France and Julia Engström, Sweden 20 points each; Maja Stark, Sweden 9 points; Aline Krauter, Germany, Agathe Laisne, France and Karoline Lund, Norway, 7 points each and Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, France 5 points.

Letizia Bagnoli- Portuguese Amateur Winner

The Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Championship was the first of nine counting events on this year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup European Ranking with the first six players on the Ranking at the end of the qualification process all earning an automatic place on the European team for the match at Des Moines Golf & Country Club, Iowa, United States, August 15-16. The team will be completed with six Captain’s picks.

The next counting event is the Spanish International Ladies’ Amateur, at Sherry Golf, Spain (March 1-6) followed by the French International Ladies’ Junior Championship, at GC St Cloud, France (April 13-17), the German Girls’ Open, at GC St. Leon-Rot, Germany (June 1-3), the Helen Holmes Scottish Women’s Open Championship, at Troon GC (April 21-23), the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, at Pale & Kenfig CC, Wales (June 13-17), and the ANNIKA Invitational Europe, at Halmstad GK, Sweden (June 20-22).

The qualifying season will come to a close with the European Girls’ Team Championship, at St Laurence GC, Finland (July 11-15), and the European Ladies’ Team Championship, back at Montado Golf Resort (July 11-15).

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

The 2017 event in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 15th-16th, marks the ninth time the European PING Junior Solheim Cup team will battle against the US Team, which currently leads the series 5 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie.

For more information about the PING Junior Solheim Cup, please visit www.solheimcupeurope.com or contact pjsc@ladieseuropeantour.com.