United States Tries to Regain Solheim Cup With Five Rookies on the Roster

The United States has five rookies on the 12-player squad that it hopes will help reverse its fortunes when the 18th Solheim Cup is played beginning Friday at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia, Spain.

The U.S. holds a 10-7 lead in the Solheim Cup series, but Europe has won the last two meetings and four of the last six.

“I would honestly just say, just focus on yourself and your game,” Lexi Thompson, who is playing in her sixth Solheim Cup, said she would advise the rookies. “Going to another country, it’s a whole different thing. We’re going to hear their chants, not ours and hopefully not hear boos.

“But it’s just a matter of focusing on your game and blocking out all the noise and just focusing on what you can control out there because the first tee experience is like no other. … But they have nerves of steel. They have no problem. I think (it’s just) a matter of being there as a teammate and partner whoever I have on my side in matches. That’s all you need.”

Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley and UCLA, who won her first two major titles in the Chevron Championship and the AIG Women’s Open this season; reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz of Hawaii and USC; Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach and Stanford; Cheyenne Knight of The Woodlands, Texas, and rookie Rose Zhang of Irvine and Stanford are the rookies non-playing Captain Stacy Lewis has on her team.

The veterans on the American team are Thompson, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang of Thousand Oaks and Pepperdine, Jennifer Kupcho, Megan Khang, Angel Yin of Los Angeles and Ally Ewing.

“If you’re going to win, you have to understand what you’re becoming a part of, and this is a pretty exclusive group of women to have represent the United States,” Lewis said. “I just want to make sure they know what they’re becoming a part of.

“There have been 62 Americans who have represented the United States in the Solheim Cup. We’re now up to 67 with our five rookies this year. I had the stats people at the LPGA Tour try to find the points list and going back to 1990, how everyone qualified.”

Representing Europe are reigning Evian Championship winner Celine Boutier of France, Maja Stark of Sweden, Charley Hull of England, Leona Maguire of Ireland, Georgia Hall of England, Linn Grant of Sweden, Carlotta Ciganda of Spain, Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, Gemma Dryburgh of Scotland, Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark and Carolina Hedwall of Sweden.

Non-playing captain Suzann Pettersen of Sweden posted an 18-12-6 record in nine Solheim Cups, sinking the winning putt on the 18th green to give Europe a 14½-13½ victory in 2019 on the Kings Course at Gleneagles Golf Club in Auchterarder, Scotland.

Pettersen, who claimed 21 victories in her pro career including two major titles, announced her retirement as a player, during the awards ceremony.

Even without her, Europe claimed a 15-13 victory at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, two years ago.

The Americans haven’t won the Solheim Cup on European soil since a 14½-13½ victory in 2015 at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, and their last victory anywhere was 16½-11½ at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2017.

Juli Inkster of Los Gatos captained both of those U.S. teams.   

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