Solheim Cup: Ireland's Leona Maguire named among Catriona Matthew's picks for Team Europe
Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew announced her selections after her six automatic qualifiers were confirmed at the AIG Women's Open; Celine Boutier, Matilda Castren, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Mel Reid and Madelene Sagstrom also given captain's picks.
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 23/08/21 3:50pm
Leona Maguire will become the first Irish player to represent Team Europe in the Solheim Cup after being named as one of Catriona Matthew’s captain’s picks for this year’s contest.
The 26-year-old has broken into the world's top 50 after following an impressive rookie season on the LPGA Tour in 2020 with an even better 2021 campaign, including two runner-up finishes and six top 10s from 15 starts.
Maguire will be one of four rookies in the European side that heads to Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, from September 4-6, with Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Finland's Matilda Castren also set for the debuts after being included among Matthew's six captain's picks.
Madelene Sagstrom also gets a pick after finishing tied-second at the AIG Women's Open on Sunday, the final event of the Solheim Cup qualification campaign, where Madsen finished a further shot back in a share of fifth after double-bogeying her final hole.
Madsen also registered a top 10 at the Olympics earlier this month and claimed a share of third at the ANA Inspiration, the opening women's major of the season, while Castren has claimed breakthrough victories on both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour this summer.
Celine Boutier was handed a wildcard pick, two years on from winning all four matches on her debut to help Europe to a 14.5-13.5 victory at Gleneagles, with Mel Reid picked for a fourth Solheim Cup appearance after having a vice-captaincy role for the 2019 contest.
The six captain's selections were announced following the conclusion of the AIG Women's Open, joining two automatic qualifiers from the LET Solheim Cup Points standings and four from the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings to complete the European line-up.
"I'm really happy with my team right now for the 2021 Solheim Cup," Matthew said. "There is plenty of experience there and it is great to have Sophia representing Europe for the first time.
"Over the past few months, so many European players have been playing well and throwing their name in the hat. Choosing picks is always the toughest part, but I believe we'll have a great team."
Anna Nordqvist jumped to world No 16 after claiming a third major title on Sunday, securing the Swede an automatic spot via world rankings and a seventh consecutive Solheim Cup appearance, while Georgia Hall qualified via the Ladies European Tour standings thanks to a tied-second finish.
Emily Kristine Pedersen, a four-time winner on the Ladies European Tour last season on her way to winning the Order of Merit, finished top of the LET Solheim Cup Points standings and will make her first appearance since her debut in 2017.
England's Charley Hull and Spain's Carlota Ciganda both secured their places via their world ranking and will make their fifth Solheim Cup appearances next month, while last year's AIG Women's Open champion Sophia Popov completes the list of debutants after claiming the other automatic qualification spot.
Team USA captain Pat Hurst will announce her three captain's picks on Monday afternoon, with Austin Ernst, Ally Ewing, Danielle Kang, Megan Khang, Jessica Korda, Nelly Korda, Jennifer Kupcho, Lizette Salas and Lexi Thompson the nine automatic qualifiers.
Watch the Solheim Cup live from September 4-6 on Sky Sports