For those watching the final singles matches in the 2011 Solheim Cup, you’re seeing a great exhibition of golf. What you may not know is that nine of the 24 participants in this year’s matches got their first taste of international match play competition as juniors in the PING Junior Solheim Cup.
On the European side, four players have combined for six years of PING Junior Solheim Cup experience. Azahara Munoz made three appearances (2002, 2003, 2005), while Melissa Reid (2005), Anna Nordqvist (2005) and Caroline Hedwall (2007) each suited up in blue once before making the leap to the pros and joining the Solheim Cup team.
For the Americans, five were once PING Junior Solheim Cup participants. Morgan Pressel (2002, 2005), Paula Creamer (2002, 2003), Brittany Lincicome (2002, 2003), Brittany Lang (2002), and Vicky Hurst (2007) all wore the red of the U.S.A. team.
While many of these ladies competed in the same years, only once were they matched up to play together, or against one another. In 2005, Morgan Pressel defeated Azahara Munoz in the final singles match of the day.
Of the nine, two went straight to the Solheim Cup two years after competing in the PING Junior Solheim Cup. Paula Creamer has been a member of the Solheim Cup team four times now, her first coming in 2005, just two years after her final PING Junior Solheim Cup appearance in 2003. Also moving straight from the PING Junior Solheim Cup to the professional ranks of the biennial match play event was Morgan Pressel who is making her third appearance in the Solheim Cup. Pressel first competed in the Solheim Cup in 2007, having made her final PING Junior Solheim Cup appearance in 2005.
Morgan Pressel and Anna Nordqvist are the only two of the nine to have gone undefeated in PING Junior Solheim Cup play. Pressel holds a record of 4-0-2, while Nordqvist boasts a record of 3-0-0. Their success has carried over into their Solheim Cup experiences. Having gone undefeated in 2011 Solheim Cup matches, Pressel now has a Solheim Cup record of 7-2-2. Nordqvist has a Solheim Cup record of 4-4-0.
If history is bound to repeat itself, we’ll be seeing even more familiar names when the Solheim Cup returns to the U.S. in 2013.