Leona Maguire

Europe has assembled a strong team comprising 12 golfers from eight different countries as it bids to wrest the PING Junior Solheim Cup back from the Americans at Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort in Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland, on September 20-21.

The European side will include Irish twins, Leona and Lisa Maguire, who will be performing in front of their home fans after earning two of the six automatic places from the European PING Junior Solheim Cup Ranking. The other four automatic places were claimed by French trio, Céline Boutier, Manon Gidali and Emilie Alonso, plus new British Girls’ champion, Margaux Vanmol from Belgium.

The six Captain’s Picks were awarded to English duo, Charley Hull and Lauren Taylor, Welsh girl Amy Boulden, Sweden’s Emma Nilsson, Spain’s Luna Sabrón and Antonia Scherer from Germany.

“The Solheim family is very excited about the make-up of the European Junior Solheim Cup Team,” said John A. Solheim, CEO of PING.   “It reflects a strong mix of players from all over Europe.   With the Maguire sisters playing at home, it will certainly add to the challenge the United States team will face in defending their title.”

The European team, under its non-playing Captain, former US and British Women’s Open champion Lotta Neumann, is bidding to regain the PING Junior Solheim Cup trophy it lost 8 ½ – 5 ½ at Aurora Golf Club, Illinois, USA, two years ago.

The USA has won three and lost two of the previous matches, which were inaugurated back in 2002. To date, the home side has won on all of the previous five occasions.

The PING Junior Solheim Cup matches feature two teams comprising 12 of the best female golfers, aged between 12 and 18, from Europe and the USA. The juniors play match play in a similar format to The Solheim Cup.

The matches are traditionally played immediately ahead of The Solheim Cup, to be staged at Killeen Castle from September 23-25, and this year local interest is bound to be particularly high now that it has been confirmed the Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, will both be making their second appearances in the match.

The 16 year-old twins, from Slieve Russell, made their debuts at Aurora GC back in 2009 and will be hoping to reverse the defeat they suffered on that occasion after an impressive 2011 season during which they finished first and third, respectively, on the European PING Junior Solheim Cup Ranking. The Ranking was calculated from the cumulative results at seven of the most prestigious girls’ and women’s events in Europe.

Leona Maguire headed the Ranking after winning the individual title at the European Ladies’ Amateur Team Championship in Austria, finishing third at the Irish Under-18 Girls’ Championship at Knightsbrook and fourth at the International European Ladies’ Amateur Championship in Holland. Meanwhile, her sister, Lisa, was third on the Ranking after a string of fine results including winning both the European Ladies’ event in Holland and the Spanish International Ladies’ Amateur Championships at Jerez Golf.

The Maguire sisters were separated on the ranking by Celine Boutier, one of three members of the victorious French team at the European Girls’ Team championship who will play at Knightsbrook. She has been a consistently strong performer all season, losing in the final of the Girls’ British Amateur Championship and reaching the semi-finals of the French International Lady Juniors’ Championship and finishing tied sixth at the Irish Girls’ Under-18 Championship at Knightstbrook.

In fourth and fifth place among the automatic qualifiers for the European side were the other two French girls, Manon Gidali, the losing finalist at the French International Lady Juniors’ Amateur Championship and the runner-up at the Irish Girls’ Under-18 Championship, and Emilie Alonso, who lost out to Leona Maguire in the final of the Spanish Girls’ event. The last automatic place went to Belgium’s Margaux Vanmol, who made a late move up the Ranking by defeating Boutier by one hole in the final of the Girls’ British Amateur Championship at Gullane.

A whole host of girls had strong claims to receive one of the six Wild Card picks but, after considerable deliberation, they went to Lauren Taylor, the winner of British Women’s Open Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush; Amy Boulden, who reached the semi-finals of the same event; Charley Hull, who won the 2011 English Women’s Stroke Play Championship and was runner-up in the Match Play equivalent; Emma Nilsson, a semi-finalist at both the Spanish International Ladies’ Championship and the Girls’ British Amateur Championship; Antonia Scherer, a consistent player who was also a semi-finalist in Spain; and Luna Sobrón, another consistent player and last week’s quarter-finalist at the Girls’ British Amateur Championship.  

This is a great team,” said Neumann, who made six appearances in the Solheim Cup and was vice-captain to Alison Nicholas at the 2099 match Illinois.

“It is always something special to represent Europe and is something the girls will never forget.

“We have got a lot of different nationalities in our team and now we are going to have to get our minds set and focus on winning together.”

The PING Junior Solheim Cup was inaugurated by PING in 2002. Previous PING Junior Solheim Cup competitors include Paula Creamer, Anna Nordqvist, Morgan Pressel, Caroline Hedwall, Tania Elosequi, Britanny Lincicome and Melissa Reid. PING is the owner and title sponsor, and for this year the Irish Ladies’ Golf Union is the Official Host, Twenty Eleven IGPL is the Promoter, Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort is the Official Venue and the Ladies European Tour is the Governing Body.

For more information about both the PING Junior Solheim Cup and The Solheim Cup please visit www.solheimcup.com and ladieseuropeantour.com.  For media enquiries, please contact Colin Callander at Golf Marketing Services on 44 (0)1438 718399.

Teams Representing Europe and the USA at the PING Junior Solheim Cup

TEAM EUROPE

Captain: Lotta Neumann, Sweden Vice Captain: Ludivine Kreutz, France

Players

  • Emilie Alonso, France
  • Amy Boulden, Wales
  • Céline Boutier, France
  • Manon Gidali, France
  • Charley Hull, England
  • Emma Nilsson, Sweden
  • Leona Maguire, Ireland
  • Lisa Maguire, Ireland
  • Luna Sabrón, Spain
  • Antonia Scherer, Germany
  • Lauren Taylor, England
  • Margaux Vanmol, Belgium

TEAM USA

Captain: Meg MallonVice Captain: Courtney Jones

Players

  • Karen Chung
  • Jaye Marie Green
  • Kyung Kim
  • Alison Lee
  • Esther Lee
  • Ashlan Ramsey
  • Summar Roachell
  • Mariah Stackhouse
  • McKenzie Talbert
  • Emma Talley
  • Gabriella Then
  • Lindsey Weaver