Sagstrom, Dryburgh among captain's picks for Euros in Solheim Cup
MADRID (AP) — European team captain Suzann Pettersen completed her Solheim Cup squad on Tuesday with Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom and Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh, the only two Europeans in the top 50 in the world who hadn't automatically qualified.
Pettersen also selected Sweden's Caroline Hedwall and Denmark's Emily Pedersen for the 12-player European squad that will go for a third straight win against the United States from Sept. 22-24 at Finca Cortesin in southern Spain.
Dryburgh will be one of the three rookies in a European team that has never won three in a row against the U.S. in the biennial competition that is the equivalent of the Ryder Cup in men’s golf. For the first time, both events will be held in back-to-back weeks, with the Ryder Cup taking place in Rome.
“It's a lot of pressure on us, obviously,” said Pettersen, who helped Europe win the Solheim Cup in 2019. "We are capable of doing history, doing a three-peat that has never been done before. At the same time, I've got to say, we have the best European team that we've ever had so I feel like we are fitted for the challenge, we are up for it. I want it, the players want it, so we will be ready."
U.S. captain Stacy Lewis will announce her picks for the American team next week.
Dryburgh, No. 48 in the world, made the cut in her last six events, including at the Evian Championship, where she finished eighth. The 30-year-old won the Japan Classic last year.
“I’m over the moon to be picked for my first Solheim Cup,” she said. “It has been a dream of mine to play on the European team since I can remember and for it to become a reality is an amazing feeling. It really makes all of the hard work over the years worthwhile and now I just can’t wait to tee it up with the rest of my teammates.”
Sagstrom, No. 42 in the world, missed the cut in three of her last four tournaments, finishing in a tie for ninth place at the Scottish Open.
“I’m super proud and honored to get a pick from Suzann,” the 30-year-old Sagstrom said. “Playing in my third Solheim Cup and the first on European soil is a huge accomplishment for me and something I’ve always dreamt about. I can’t wait to represent Europe in Spain and create some amazing memories with the team. Vamos!”
Pettersen said she was “very pleased with my team.”
“Madelene was an obvious choice, she was right there in the pack with the rest of the eight qualifiers, has experience and is a great team player," she said. “It’s been great following Gemma and her performances over the past year, she has a very consistent game, is a great putter and has a great personality.”
The four players selected by Pettersen on Tuesday will join the eight who had automatically qualified in advance, including Celine Boutier, the Frenchwoman who topped the European Solheim Cup points standings after recently earning consecutive victories at the Evian Championship for her first major and at the Scottish Open.
Second in the European Solheim Cup points standings was Sweden’s Maja Stark, who has won six times on the Ladies European Tour in the past two years, including the 2022 edition of the co-sanctioned ISPS Handa World Invitational which secured her membership to the LPGA Tour. The 23-year-old will be one of the rookies for Europe at the Solheim Cup this year.
The six players who automatically qualified via the women’s world rankings were England’s Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, Sweden’s Linn Grant and Anna Nordqvist, Ireland's Leona Maguire and Carlota Ciganda, the only Spaniard to make it to the team. She will be making her sixth consecutive Solheim Cup appearance.
Nordqvist, in her eighth consecutive appearance, will also act as one of the vice captains for the European team along with Laura Davies and Caroline Martens.
It will be Hull’s sixth consecutive Solheim Cup, having made her debut at age 17. Maguire will be back after an outstanding appearance as a rookie in 2021.
The 24-year-old Grant will be another rookie but will bring the experience of five European tour wins in the last two seasons. She recently also picked up her first victory on the LPGA Tour.
The Solheim Cup is played over three days, with 12 singles matches deciding the event on Sunday.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf