SPANISH BACKBONE

As things stand we have three Spanish girls in the team, two of them rookies. Over the years we have relied on an English and Swedish backbone, this year Spain could be our most featured country for the first time.

Carlota Ciganda was playing on the Access Tour in 2011, she then won the Order of Merit (and Rookie of the Year) last year. She first came to our attention when she beat Anna Nordqvist in the final of the British Amateur at Alwoodley in 2007.

Beatriz Recari has now won twice on the LPGA Tour having captured the Kia Classic in March – in her first LET event she holed a 4-iron in the play- off in Finland to open her account.

Aza Munoz makes up the trio and her debut, and that approach to the 17th in Ireland, demonstrated huge nerve and skill.

NO ‘LD’ FOR FIRST TIME?

Laura Davies and Sophie Gustafson have an astonishing 20 Solheim appearances between them but there is a real possibility that neither will be at Colorado GC.
Davies will turn 50 this year and, on current form, it would take some leap of faith to pick her as a wildcard. She enjoyed an incredible five wins in 2010 but has since failed to add another one.

Gustafson was the star of the Killeen Castle show with four points from four outings, and proved lethal alongside Caroline Hedwall, but her game is a shadow of then.
Recently there has been a flurry of missed cuts and not too much cause for optimism.
The Swede made her debut in 1998 and has been an ever-present since, Davies has never missed a match. All that could soon change though, you would imagine, not without a fight.

One outsider is Charley Hull who has only just turned professional but already has a second place after a brilliant debut in Morocco. MATTHEW AND WHO ELSE?

The British and Irish could well be limited come August. As ever Catriona Matthew looks likely to net a place but then things begin to get a little bit sketchy.
Last time, Mel Reid topped the qualifying but she is currently down in 12th place while Scotland’s Carly Booth and the Johnsons, Flic and Trish, are above her in the standings.

One outsider is Charley Hull who has only just turned professional but already has a second place after a brilliant debut in Morocco.

It seems that the English girl has been around for years but is still only 17 and it would be an incredible story to go from Curtis to Solheim Cup in just over a year.
The general feeling is that the LPGA players tend to get the nod for the wildcards which won’t add too much hope for further GB&I interest.

WHAT ABOUT AMERICA?

The Americans have modified their qualifying system with two players getting the 9th and 10th positions from the world rankings instead of the points list, to be complemented by two wildcards.

Currently there is a familiar look to the leading qualifiers but then we have the likes of Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda in place to debut.

Three years ago the pair led off the American assault on GB&I in the 2010 Curtis Cup – at the end of the week Thompson would accumulate 41⁄2 points from five outings, Korda 31⁄2. Together they were unbeatable and it would be fascinating to see whether Meg Mallon would put them out as a pairing in the Solheim.

In Ireland the last three players to make the side were Christina Kim, Vicky Hurst and Ryann O’Toole – all three are nowhere near to getting a chance to get their revenge.

Factfile
These will be the 13th Solheim Cup matches with the United States leading the series 8-4. Europe have twice got to 12 1⁄2 points in the States but have yet to reach the magical 14 1⁄2. The matches will take place on August 16-18 at Colorado GC on the outskirts of Denver.

Read our exclusive interview with Lotta Neumann HERE