Aug. 9, 2013

PING Junior Solheim Cup: reflecting on the competition

The seventh-biennial PING Junior Solheim Cup will commence Tuesday, Aug. 13 at The Inverness Hotel & Golf Club in Englewood, Colo. The United States Team holds the all-time record at 3-2-1 and will look to reclaim the Cup this week.
Before the week begins, take a look back at the past six PING Junior Solheim Cups. Between the competition, camaraderie and spirit, one will notice future college and LPGA stars. Former AJGA Player Representative Morgan Pressel holds the all-time Team USA PING Junior Solheim Cup record at 4-0-2. Paula Creamer competed in the 2003 PING Junior Solheim Cup and joined her first United States Solheim Cup Team in 2005. She has competed in the professional tournament every year since.
Four European Team players followed their PING Junior Solheim Cup appearances with NCAA individual championship titles: Dewi Schreefel (2006) of Southern California, Azahara Munoz (2008) of Arizona State, Maria Hernandez (2009) of Purdue, and Caroline Hedwall (2010) of Oklahoma State.
2002 PING Junior Solheim Cup
The inaugural PING Junior Solheim Cup contested at Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins, Minn., in the days leading up to The Solheim Cup at Interlachen in Edina. The United States, led by Jennifer Pandolfi and Amanda Blumenherst, was victorious, 17-7, over Team Europe. Both Pandolfi and Blumenherst were undefeated, winning all three matches in which they competed.
In 2003, the event moved to Bokskogen Golf Club in Bara, Sweden. For five of the team’s members – Blumenherst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Pandolfiand Jane Park – the 2002 U.S. victory was still fresh in their minds.
After Team USA captured an early lead, the European squad responded by winning four of six Afternoon Four-Ball matches the first day. Team Europe led 6.5-5.5 going into the singles matches and with both squads notching six points, the Europeans captured their first victory, 12.5-11.5.
The 2005 contest returned to U.S. soil. Pressel led the charge of this energetic squad, along with Megan Grehan and Sydnee Michaels going undefeated during the event. Team USA also took home 10 of the 12 individual victories on the final day to defeat Team Europe, 16-8.
The 2007 PING Junior Solheim Cup traveled to Båstad Golf Club in Båstad, Sweden, where Team Europe clinched its second Cup. Carlota Ciganda, Florentyna Parker and Nicola Rössler all had flawless records of 3-0-0 during the week to help Europe to a 14-10 victory.
Team USA took advantage of playing at home, winning the 2009 PING Junior Solheim Cup, 15.5-8.5. The Morning Four-Ball matches concluded with the U.S. taking a two-point lead. The squad’s momentum continued into the Afternoon Foursome matches as Team USA added 3.5 points to their total, ending the day three points ahead, 7.5-4.5.
Capping off their undefeated record in day one, Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson, Tiffany Lua, Sarah Brown and Kristen Park maintained their perfect records in the singles matches. Team USA won eight of the 12 singles matches en route to a 15.5-8.5 victory.
The U.S. Team retained the Cup after the 2011 edition was decided by a 12-12 draw at Knightsbrook Resort Spa & Golf Hotel in Trim, Ireland. The U.S. squad overcame a four-point deficit and inclement weather to even the score in the end. Three players from the 2011 U.S. Team will return to the 2013 field in hopes of retaining the Cup: Karen Chung, Alison Lee and Ashlan Ramsey.
Twelve of the 2013 Solheim Cup players will look back to their junior days when they represented their countries at the PING Junior Solheim Cup. As the 2013 competition begins Tuesday, keep an eye on all 24 players. There may be a future Paula Creamer or Azahara Munoz in the field. 

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