In Solheim Cup history, the European Team has only won on U.S. soil one time – at Colorado Golf Club outside Denver in 2012. Now, the European Junior Solheim Cup team has matched that feat. Could it be an omen for the marquee matches at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, to come over the weekend?
Europe won the mini matches against the U.S., played at nearby Sylvania Country Club—just a short drive from Inverness, where the main event begins on Saturday—based on a Thursday singles rally. It’s the first time the Europeans, captained by Annika Sorenstam this year, have won this event since 2007 and only the third time in 11 events.
The two sides entered the day with the U.S. leading 8-4. In the lead-off match, Germany’s Paula Schulz-Hanssen, the 2020 European Ladies Amateur winner, defeated Catherine Rao to set the tone. Anna Davis, the reigning Girls Junior PGA champion, picked up the next point in a lopsided 5-and-4 defeat of Andrea Revuelta.
Scores: Junior Solheim Cup
After the third match was split, Europe went on a run, winning the next six matches out. That set the tone for a 9-3 singles rout that left Europe with the victory by a 13-11 margin.
Denmark’s Amalie Leth-Nissen was in the anchor match against Megha Ganne, formerly the top-ranked player in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings and an alternate at last week’s Curtis Cup. When teammate Denisa Vodickova rolled in the clinching putt against Sara Im, Leth-Nissen heard the roars of “Vamos!” and knew it was her team who had gotten it done.
“Then I saw them come running down the 17th fairway and I was pretty sure that we won,” she said. “So it was amazing to see the girls be so happy, and also a big relief for myself.”
Leth-Nissen also relived a scene early week during which the whole team met Sorenstam. The Hall of Famer commanded much respect among the group.
“I remember we were at the putting green or we were eating lunch and she came in, and the whole room went silent,” Leth-Nissen said. “We were just looking, and I think we were all kind of star struck. Then she started to come around and talk to us.
“I remember we were looking at each other because she’s a legend. But she’s really cool, calm person, really down to earth. She makes you feel really comfortable.”
Schulz-Hanssen noted that Sorenstam was so hands-on in her captaincy that she asked the young German on the range that first day whether she could clean her clubs.
In putting the first singles point on the board, Schulz-Hanssen certainly felt the visiting crowd bring the noise even if they were a long way from home. Noise and energy could be key for the Europeans when the matches proper begin.
“I just think that being so far away from home, I didn’t know many of the girls, but still, I felt like they were like my team and my family, even though I didn’t know them because we were so far away and we were so Europeans actually out on the course because there were many American fans, but still, to know that the other girls are just giving it their best shot and like doing everything they can, it just made me feel pretty good,” Schulz-Hanssen said.
The juniors plan to remain at Inverness to cheer for the remainder of the weekend.
Leth-Nissen hopes the early-week victory inspired another European triumph for later this weekend.
“I hope it’s really a motivation for them to see that we also could do it,” she said. “There are going to be a lot more fans when they’re playing, but I think just, yeah, keep believing in themselves. I think they will do great.”