UNITED STATES CAPTURES PING JUNIOR SOLHEIM CUP AT AURORA COUNTRY CLUB
American team wins eight singles matches en route to victory
AURORA, Ill. — Each year of the biennial match play event, the PING Junior Solheim Cup has been won by the host team, and 2009 was no different as the United States recaptured the Cup, recording 15.5 points to the European team's 8.5.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association and hosted by Aurora Country Club in Aurora, Ill., matched the 12 top female junior golfers from the United States against their European counterparts. Players competed in four-ball and foursome matches Tuesday, and concluded with singles matches Wednesday. With the all-time series tied at two matches apiece before this year, the American team recaptured the Cup and the lead in the series, which will now rest at 3-2 until 2011 when the PING Junior Solheim Cup travels to Ireland.
The U.S. team began the day with a three-point advantage, needing to win five points to reach 12.5 — the number needed to bring the Cup back to the United States. Winning four of the first six matches, the team was well on its way. The European team refused to give up the fight, taking matches to the 17th and 18th holes.
“The score doesn't show how close it was,” U.S. Captain Nancy Lopez said. “I'm so proud of my team for never giving up. They played with heart and are a fantastic team.”
The match stayed close throughout the day, and with several matches hanging in the balance, Team USA earned its decisive point in the ninth match of the day.
Kristina Wong stepped to the tee of the par-3 No. 17 with a 2-up lead over Sweden's Johanna Tillstrom. While Wong's tee shot rested on the fringe of the back at the green, Tillstrom's shot landed in the rough to the left of the green. While Tillstrom's chip left her just shy of the green, Wong's putt rolled inches from the hole, and with a conceded putt the U.S. team captured its victory.
“I was really nervous standing over that putt,” Wong said. “I had lost both of my matches yesterday, and I really wanted to play well today for my team. I didn't even know I had scored the winning point until the team came out onto the green congratulating me.”
American team members going undefeated through all three rounds were Sarah Brown of Phillipsburg, N.J., Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., and Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif. Brown won her singles match 2 & 1, Lua won 4 & 3, Thompson won 1-up, and Park claimed a 2 & 1 victory in the final match of the day.
One European team member ended the tournament undefeated, as Kelly Tidy of Bolton, England, won her match Wednesday 5 & 4.
“The way my team has carried themselves and performed under pressure has really been impressive to me,” European Captain Carin Koch said. “I'm so proud of the girls and the way they stuck in there and played tough.”
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries.
Ralph Lauren Golf was the official outfitter of the American PING Junior Solheim Cup team.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the PING Junior Solheim Cup, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.