Catriona Matthew selects three rookies among her six picks for Solheim, with Leona Maguire and Matilda Castren making history

Two years after Catriona Matthew went seemingly way outside-the-box by picking Suzann Pettersen, the Scottish captain kept it predictable with her six selections. The Pettersen wild card, of course, turned out to be brilliant as she sank the winning putt at Gleneagles.

This time Matthew picked three rookies in Ireland’s Leona Maguire, Finland’s Matilda Castren and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen. The Dane, of course, was tied for the lead going into the 72nd hole with Anna Nordqvist before suffering a double-bogey shocker. A pick to compete at the Inverness Club Sept 4-6 surely helped put some salve on the wound.

Maguire becomes the first Irish player to make the Solheim Cup team while Castren is the first from Finland. Earlier this year, Castren became the first player to win on the LPGA at the Mediheal Championship near San Francisco. She later became eligible for the team by winning on the Ladies European Tour at the Gant Ladies Open in her homeland to secure tour membership.

“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet,” said Castren, “but it brings tears of joy into my eyes just thinking about it and how much fun it is going to be and how cool it is going to representing Europe and representing Finland.”

Golf - Olympics

Matilda Castren of Team Finland at the women’s golf competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Maguire recently shot a major record-tying 61 in the final round of the Evian Championship to finish tied for sixth. She also went toe-to-toe with Nelly Korda at the Meijer LPGA Classic, finishing second.

“I think it’s going to be great for Irish golf and to show the young girls coming up that it is possible to do things if you set your mind to it,” said Maguire, who  for years dominated the amateur scene while at Duke. “Catriona is a legend in her own right – a winning Solheim Cup captain and a major winner. For her to think I’m good enough to be on her team is quite humbling and an honor.”

AIG Women's Open

Leona Maguire of Ireland looks over her putt at the 18th hole during the third round of the 2021 AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, who competed for Europe in 2017, returns to the roster after finishing in a share of second with former British Open winner Georgia Hall at Carnoustie.

France’s Celine Boutier went 4-0 as a fantastic rookie pick for Matthew in 2019 and is back for more. Mel Reid, who missed out on a pick two years ago, returns to the lineup after serving as a vice captain in 2019. She broke through with her first LPGA title last fall at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

“I’m not shy when I speak about how much the Solheim Cup means to me,” said Reid, “so to be back on that team again means the world.”

AIG Women’s British Open winner Anna Nordqvist, Germany’s Sophia Popov, England’s Charley Hull and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda made Matthew’s team off the Rolex Rankings, while Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen and England’s Georgia Hall, qualified on Solheim Cup points.

“I mean, obviously for Anna to win, that gives any player a huge boost of confidence going into Solheim,” said Matthew of her team’s form heading into Inverness.

“And then to have Nanna, Madelene, Georgia, all playing well in the last major before it is a real boost of confidence to them.”

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