Albane Valenzuela and Mathilda Cappeliez teed off for the European Team as the eighth PING Junior Solheim Cup began at St Leon-Rot this morning, on Monday September 14.

The Swiss and the French girl were the first names to be announced as the pairings for the fourball matches were unveiled at the official Opening Ceremony held in the shadows of the spectacular Heidelberg Castle.

The fourball matches began at 08:00 when Valenzuela and Cappeliez went out against a strong leading American pair comprising Andrea Lee and Angel Yin. Marta Perez Sanmartin and María Parra were next on the tee against Megan Khang and Mariel Galdiano while the next four fourball matches on the course feature intriguing matches contests between Emma Spitz and Olivia Mehaffey against Mika Liu and Haley Moore, Elin Esborn and Sandra Nordaas against Kaitlyn Papp and Hailee Cooper, Puk Lyng Thomsen and Leonie Harm against Sierra Brooks and Kristen Gillman and last off is Agathe Laisné and Ana Peláez against Hannah O’Sullivan and Nelly Korda.

This year’s European team led by captain Iben Tinning go into the first PING Junior Solheim Cup to be held on German soil bidding to regain a trophy which America retained two years ago at the Inverness Golf Club in Colorado.

Tinning’s team will also be hoping to extend a proud record which has seen the Europeans win two and halve one of the previous three PING Junior Solheim Cups held on home soil.

This year’s match is the first to be held in Europe since 2011 when the two teams battled out an historic halved match at Knightsbrook Resort Spa & Golf Hotel in Co. Meath, Ireland, when the Americans kept the trophy as the defending champions. Today, the PING Junior Solheim Cup starts with six fourballs and six foursomes on the first day before concluding with 12 singles tomorrow (Tuesday).

The official Opening Ceremony set the tone for one of the most eagerly-awaited matches in a series which stretches back to 2002 when the home team won at Oak Ridge Country Club in Minnesota. Eicko Shulz-Hansen, General Manager of St Leon-Rot Golf Club, Roland Specker, Ladies European Tour Board member, Stephen Hamblin, Chief Executive Officer of the American Junior Golf Association, Claus M Kobold, President of the German Golf Federation and John Solheim, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PING and founder of the PING Junior Solheim Cup all spoke before the fourball pairings were announced by Tinning and her American counterpart, JoAnne Carner.

“After more than two years of preparation by hundreds of individuals, we’re excited the 2015 Solheim Cup is officially under way,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “For the first time, the PING Junior Solheim Cup is being played at the same venue as The Solheim Cup, allowing more spectators than ever a glimpse into the future of women’s golf in Europe and the United States. Following what promises to be a great display of shot-making and sportsmanship by the juniors, the stage is set for Europe to begin its defense of the Solheim Cup. I’m confident when the week is over, women’s golf will grow even stronger and everyone involved will come away with unforgettable memories of The Solheim Cup at Germany’s St. Leon-Rot Golf Club.”

“We look forward to welcoming the players, officials, dignitaries and supporters to St Leon-Rot and thank tournament officials for granting the Club the honour of staging both the PING Junior Solheim Cup and The Solheim Cup,” said Shulz-Hansen.

“It is a huge privilege for us to be the first Club to be invited to stage both the PING Junior Solheim Cup and The Solheim Cup in the same week and we will endeavour to do everything we can to make sure both are an outstanding success.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish both the European and American teams the best of luck,” he added. “It promises to be a very exciting match.

ABOUT THE PING JUNIOR SOLHEIM CUP

The PING Junior Solheim Cup 2015 is to be played at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club on September 14-15 immediately ahead of The Solheim Cup, which is staged at the same German golf club on September 18-20. It is the first time the same venue has been used for both matches.

The PING Junior Solheim Cup is a team match play competition between Europe and the United States, each team featuring the best 12 female golfers 18 years of age and younger.

The competition consist of 24 matches – six foursome matches, six fourball matches and 12 single matches.

The aim of the competition is to give juniors the opportunity to further their golfing careers by playing matchplay at a high level and also for the competitors to meet, learn and be inspired by the professional players playing in The Solheim Cup.

The 2015 event marks the eighth time the PING Junior Solheim Cup team will be contested with the US Team currently leading the series 4-2-1.

The PING Junior Solheim Cup was established by PING CEO and Chairman, John Solheim, back in 2002 and since has developed a deserved reputation for showcasing the talents of the world’s best female junior players with Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda, Beatriz Recari, Melissa Reid, Charley Hull, Caroline Masson, Caroline Hedwall, Paula Creamer, Vicky Hurst, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Jessica Korda, and Lexi Thompson all playing in the match before graduating to The Solheim Cup.