CASTELLON, SPAIN (15th July 2009) — The Open de España Femenino, starting tomorrow at Panorámica Golf & Country Club in San Jorge, Castellón, begins a three week stretch that will determine automatic spots on The European Solheim Cup Team.
Europe will attempt to reclaim The Cup from the USA in the biennial women’s Trans-Atlantic, match play event at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois on August 21-23.
The coming three tournaments on the Ladies European Tour include two designated LET majors: the Evian Masters in France and the Ricoh Women’s British Open. At both events players receive double points for top 20 finishes, whereas this week they will receive Cup points for a top 10.
Both teams will be announced at a joint press conference two hours after the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, on 2nd August.
The top five of the nine automatic places are decided by the European Cup points’ standings, with 2008 leading money winner Gwladys Nocera of France and recent ABN AMRO Ladies Open champion Tania Elosegui of Spain leading the rankings. England’s Laura Davies, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and German Martina Eberl round out the top five, with Italian Diana Luna and England’s Melissa Reid on the fringe of making the team.
Davies is competing at this week’s tournament in an attempt to cement her position, as is Luna. The next four berths on the team will be determined by the highest eligible Europeans on the Rolex World Rankings.
Swedes Helen Alfredsson, Anna Nordqvist and Maria Hjorth currently occupy those positions along with England’s Karen Stupples. However Nordqvist, the 2009 McDonalds LPGA champion, and Stupples, the 2004 Weetabix Women’s British Open champion, will need one of European captain Alison Nicholas’ three wildcard picks, since neither player will have competed in the minimum six LET qualifying tournaments at the time of team selection.
That means that Swede Sophie Gustafson and Scottish No.1 Catriona Matthew are currently poised to qualify via the Rolex World Rankings.
Matthew celebrated the arrival of her second daughter, Sophie, less than two months ago and her first two tournaments back will be next week’s Evian Masters and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“I would hate to have missed my home Major and I have already started light practice in preparation,” she explained. “I am loving being the mother of two such gorgeous daughters and Graeme and I feel so lucky. It would be the icing on the cake of a fantastic year if I could put in a good performance at this year’s Championship and make it into The Solheim Cup.”
Sweden’s Emma Zackrisson defends the Open de España Femenino, which she won last year at Panorámica by a four stroke margin.
In all, there are players from 26 countries in attendance, including England’s Laura Davies and Paraguayan Julieta Granada, the 2006 ADT Champion.