Jessica and Nelly Korda will create a slice of Solheim Cup history when they play together in the Friday Foursomes over the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles.
Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to be named together on a Solheim Cup team in 1998, but they did not play alongside each other in either the foursomes or fourballs so the American sister will be breaking new ground at 8.34 am when they set off in the third foursomes match against Germany’s Caroline Masson and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
The honour of hitting the first shot will go to America’s Morgan Pressel who plays alongside Marina Alex in the first foursome at 8.10 am against Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law. Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier make up the second European pairing at 8.22 against Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare while the last match on the course at 8.46 am will feature Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz against Meghan Kang and Annie Park.
US captain, Juli Inkster, admitted the Korda sisters had requested to play together.
“You know, they actually asked me,” she said. “I wasn’t too keen on it. I don’t know. But the more I thought about it, I thought it would be stupid not to play them.
“I mean, it is not often you get two sisters on one team. They should have the right to play together. And Jessica said, ‘why don’t you see how we play in the Dow together, if we kill each other then maybe not put us together’. So that was our kind of thinking.”
European captain, Catriona Matthew, decided to put rookie Bronte Law out in the first group because she has been champing at the bit to get started ever since the start of the week.
“That was my kind of reason for putting her out early and Celine Boutier in the second group. I just felt the longer they have to hang around and wait, they more nervous they were going to get.
“It’s obviously important to get off to a good start tomorrow,” the Scot said. “Being the home side, I think to get off to a good start would really get the crowd into it. So, I think for us, we’re really going to go out there and try and get the crowd in and get some blue on the board early on.
“We actually didn’t ponder the parings too much,” she added. We have a couple of ones out there for the afternoon that just kind of fitted nicely, and those were the ones we wanted, to hopefully try and play everyone the first day. So, they were just kind of natural pairings, to be honest.”
Suzann to Let her Clubs Do The Talking
Suzann Pettersen has never been afraid to speak her mind but this week she may have to let her clubs do the talking after losing her voice in the lead up to match.
“My golf game is in great shape,” she croaked while attending a press conference ahead of the Opening Ceremony. “But my voice is gone. This is as good as it gets.”
Under the circumstances, the veteran Norwegian went on to do a good job explaining how the atmosphere in the European camp differed from her eight previous appearances in the Solheim Cup.
“I guess every team has different players,” she said. “I just think these new youngsters on the European team have a lot of character. Their personalities are different but go (gel) together so that’s very good.
There was also agreement among the European players that new captain Catriona Matthew had a lot to do with the high spirits within the camp.
“With Beany (Matthew) what you see is what you get,” said Pettersen. “She’s as natural as you could be. She’s as relaxed as she looks and she’s confident about what’s she’s doing. If I’d been in her shoes, I don’t know if I would have done anything different from her so far. Over the last two years, as I’ve got to know her a little better, I’ve realised she’s a calm as it gets.”
That view was shared by Swede Anna Nordqvist, Germany’s Caroline Masson and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
“I think Catriona is a big part of it,” said Nordqvist who is making her sixth Solheim Cup appearance at Gleneagles. “She’s very relaxed, very experienced, and she’s so easy going. I think that kind of transfers to the team. She’s made things very easy for us this week, and I feel she’s putting a lot of thought into our schedules and the way she’s set everything up.
“Of all the teams I’ve been on, I feel like this is the closest everyone’s been and the best team spirit we’ve ever had.”
“I also think that everybody feels we have the best 12 players in Europe on this team, which is great. I think it’s crucial that everybody in the team feels they’re in the right spot here. Nobody feels they have to hide, and I think that’s huge.
“I also think Catriona has done a great job being very open and honest, communicating really well with everybody. Everybody knows their role and where they stand. It gives the players a lot of a lot of confidence, knowing where they stand.”
The last word goes to Ewart Shadoff, who has recently had keyhole surgery and is free of the back pain that plagued her for much of the earlier part of the season.
“She’s very approachable,” she said. “Obviously, Catriona has played a lot of Solheim Cups, so she knows what it’s all about and she’s very experienced in putting pairings together. She knows what she’s doing. I’m just personally very honoured to play on her team.”
FRIDAY FOURSOMES PAIRINGS (USA team tee off first)
8:10 Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) versus Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (Europe)
8:22 Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare (USA) versus Georgia Hall and Céline Boutier (Europe)
8:34 Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) versus Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (Europe)
8:46 Megan Khang and Annie Park (USA) versus Charley Hull and Azahara Muñoz (Europe)