The PING Junior Solheim Cup, patterned after The Solheim Cup, features the top-12 girls from the United States against those from Europe. The 2007 event will be played at Bastad Golf Club in Bastad, Sweden Sept. 10-12, the days leading up to The Solheim Cup. The Solheim Cup will be played Sept. 14-16 at nearby Halmstad Golf Club. The only girls’ team event of its kind at the junior level, the PING Junior Solheim Cup is a PING tournament managed by the AJGA.
The initial 10 players on the U.S. team were selected based on a combination of the AJGA’s Polo Golf Rankings and the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Girls Rankings as of July 20. The team’s captain, Donna Andrews, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour and two-time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member, chose the remaining two players.
Eight members of the PING Junior Solheim Cup U.S. Team are from the West Coast, including six from California: Sydney Burlison of Salinas, Brianna Do of Lakewood, Mina Harigae of Monterey, Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Kristen Park of Buena Park, and Jane Rah of Torrance. Hawaii natives Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, and Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, make up the remaining two West Coast residents.
Burlison, 17, will be participating in her second PING Junior Solheim Cup. Ranked No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, Burlison is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American and has two AJGA victories to her name. The 2008 graduate has also amassed 12 top-five finishes during her junior golf career.
Do, 17, is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American with four career AJGA victories, including two in 2006. The high school senior is currently ranked No. 7 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Harigae, 17, is a two-time AJGA champion as well as a four-time Rolex Junior All-American. Harigae is currently ranked first in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and third in the Polo Golf Rankings. She currently owns the title of U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion. Harigae is a three-time member of the Canon Cup West Team.
Kim, 15, is currently ranked No. 2 in the Polo Golf Rankings and No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. This will be the second appearance for Kim at the PING Junior Solheim Cup. The 2009 graduate is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American. She has four AJGA victories to her credit including the 2007 ReBath Heather Farr Classic and the 2007 Thunderbird International Junior.
Kono, 17, is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American with a No. 5 ranking in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. Her biggest junior golf victory was at the 2005 Westfield PGA Junior Championship. Kono is a two-time member of the Canon Cup West Team.
Lua, 16, is a two-time AJGA winner as well as a two-time Rolex Junior All-American. She was a member of the 2006 Canon Cup West Team. Lua earned her spot on the PING U.S. Solheim Cup team because of her No. 9 ranking in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Park, 14, is currently ranked No. 5 in the Polo Golf Rankings. The youngest member of this year’s team, Park will graduate from high school in 2012. The 2006 Rolex Junior All-American has finished in the top five three times in AJGA events including a tie for second at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Park recently took home top honors at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in Tacoma, Wash., defeating Ayaka Kaneko 4 and 3.
Rah, 16, will be making her second appearance at the PING Junior Soheim Cup. She is one of only three juniors to be on the team again. Currently No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Rah is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American with five AJGA victories under her belt. She is a three-time member of the Canon Cup West Team and earned her first Invitational victory in 2007 at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
Two players from Florida will also be on the team in 2007. Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, and Isabelle Lendl of Bradenton, will both be making their first appearance at the PING Junior Solheim Cup.
Hurst, 17, is the top-ranked player on the team with a No. 1 ranking in the Polo Golf Rankings. Hurst has five career AJGA victories, including two in 2007. The 2006 first-team Rolex Junior All-American won the 2007 Betsy Rawls McDonald’s Girls Championship and finished runner-up at the 2006 U.S. Girls Junior.
Lendl, 16, earned a spot on the team based on her No. 13 ranking in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. The 2006 first-team Rolex Junior All-American won three times in 2006, including a victory at the Thunderbird International Junior, and captured the Scott Robertson Memorial in May. Lendl has been a member of the East Team at Canon Cup in 2006 and 2007.
Rounding out the team are the two captain’s picks, Courtney Ellenbogen of Blackburg, Va., and Allie White of Lancaster, Ohio.
Ellenbogen, 15, won her first AJGA invitational title at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in July and also captured the Mizuno Junior at Chateau Elan in April. Ranked No. 8 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Ellenbogen will be playing in her first PING Junior Solheim Cup.
White, 17, has two top-five finishes in AJGA invitational events in 2007, including second place at the McDonald’s Betsy Rawls Girls Championship and a tie for fifth place at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship. White, a 2005 honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American and a 2006 HP Scholastic Junior All-American, is ranked No. 9 in the Polo Golf Rankings.
Past U.S. Team PING Junior Solheim Cup participants include Paula Creamer (four-time LPGA Tour champion), Brittany Lincicome (champion at the 2007 GINN Open) and Morgan Pressel (champion of the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship). Creamer was the first player to make the move from the PING Junior Solheim Cup to the Solheim Cup Team where she helped lead her team to victory in 2005 with a 3-1-1 record.
The inaugural competition was staged at Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins, Minn., the days leading up to the Solheim Cup at Interlachen in Edina. The United States was victorious 17-7 over the European squad, anchored by Jennifer Pandolfi, now a senior at Duke University, and Amanda Blumenherst, a junior at Duke University who was twice named the National Player of the Year. Both were undefeated, winning all three matches in which they competed.
In 2003, the event moved to Bokskogan Golf Club in Bara, Sweden. For five of the team’s members – Blumenherst, Creamer, Lincicome, Pandolfi and Jane Park – the 2002 U.S. victory was still fresh in their minds. Although the U.S. Team took an early lead, the European squad responded by winning four of six fourball matches in the afternoon of the first day, taking the first European lead in PING Junior Solheim Cup history. Leading 6.5-5.5 going into the singles matches, both squads took six points, giving Europe a 12.5-11.5 victory.
The 2005 competition saw the event return back to U.S. soil. Pressel led the charge of this energetic squad. Pressel, along with Megan Grehan and Sydnee Michaels, went undefeated throughout the event. The U.S. also took home 10 of the 12 individual victories on the final day to defeat the European team 16-8.
The United States leads the all-time series 2-1-0. The team hosting the event has won the PING Junior Solheim Cup in all three instances.
The Solheim Cup, the most prestigious team event in women’s professional golf and sponsored by PING golf equipment, is named in honor of the company’s founder, Karsten Solheim, and his family. It is a biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition featuring the best American-born players from the LPGA Tour and the best European-born players from the Ladies European Tour.
The U.S. Team leads this competition 6-3 and has never lost on home soil. The European Team has won three of the four events held overseas and will be looking to regain the Cup in 2007.
PING designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 by the late Karsten Solheim. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim’s youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.pinggolf.com.
United States Team
Sydney Burlison, Salinas, Calif.
Brianna Do, Lakewood, Calif.
Courtney Ellenbogen, Blacksburg, Va.
Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif.
Vicky Hurst, Melbourne, Fla.
Kimberly Kim, Pahoa, Hawaii
Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii
Isabelle Lendl, Bradenton, Fla.
Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif.
Kristen Park, Buena Park, Calif.
Jane Rah, Torrance, Calif.
Allie White, Lancaster, Ohio