2021 Solheim Cup: A look into Team Europe’s full Team

The 2021 Solheim Cup is just a couple of days away as the ladies of Team USA and Team Europe will go head-to-head at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, for national bragging rights.

While we’re partial to Team USA,  it’s only fair to give an insight into the opponents.

The competition week begins on Aug. 31 and will go through Sept.6, where Team Europe looks to beat the Americans in back-to-back Cups since they did it in 2013 and 2015. Team Europe defeated the Americans at Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course in Scotland 14.5-13.5, but trail 6-10 in the overall record.

Before the three-day competition, there will be a practice session Tuesday through Friday, with the competition starting on Saturday.

During those first four days, various events will be happening, including the BMW Celebrity Match on Thursday and Fan Fest, with Gwen Stefani making an appearance on Friday.

It’ll be an exciting week of professional women’s golf, and one everyone should tune into. The 2021 Solheim Cup will be on NBC Sports and Golf Channel.

2021 Solheim Cup Team Europe Qualifiers

Team Europe picks their team differently from Team USA as they have six qualifiers, and captain Catriona Matthew gets six picks.

One rookie qualified, but the rest of the ladies that did all have a ton of experience.

Here are the ladies that qualified for Team Europe:

  1. Emily Kristine Pedersen 
  2. Georgia Hall 
  3. Anna Nordqvist  
  4. Sophia Popov 
  5. Charley Hull
  6. Carlota Ciganda

Sophia Popov is the lone rookie among the qualifiers as she notched three top 10s to get here. She finished second at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play Hosted by Shadow Creek. Popov’s other two top-10s came at Gainbridge LPGA, where he finished T8 and 10th at 10 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America.

However, most recently, she has missed five of eight cuts, with her highest finish being a T45 at Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.

The other five ladies have a ton of experience. Among them is Anna Nordqvist, who recently won the AIG Women’s Open. This Solheim Cup team will make her seventh as she holds a 12-9-2 overall record.

Georgia Hall is a two-time Solheim Cup participant where she amassed a 6-3-0 overall record. She went 4-0-0 in the 2019 Cup and will look to repeat that this year. She was one of two ladies who finished with a perfect record during the event.

Solheim Cup, Team Europe

AUCHTERARDER, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall of Team Europe. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Hall is playing extremely well, which makes her a dangerous weapon for the Europeans. She has three top-10s on the season, with two of them coming in major championships. Her best finish came at the AIG Women’s Open when she tied in the runner-up position, and the other was a T6 at The Amundi Evian Championship.

Charley Hull will make her fifth Cup appearance for the Europeans and is another strong match player. She has a 9-3-3 overall record, including a 4-0-1 record in Foursome play and 2-1-1 in singles.

Another coveted veteran for Team Europe is Carlota Ciganda, who is also making her fifth appearance. She is 6-6-4 overall but holds a stout 3-0-1 singles record, so she will be one to watch out for on the final day. Even with just one top-10 this season, Ciganda knows how to perform at the Solheim Cup, so expect her to show up in Toledo regardless of how she is playing.

The final qualifier is Emily Kristine Pedersen, who was on the 2017 Solheim Cup team. She led the points race in terms of qualifying after a deep run on the Ladies European Tour to end the 2020 season.

Most recently, she finished fifth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 42nd at the AIG Women’s Open.  Her Solheim Cup record is 0-3-0, so she will have to prove herself the second time around.

Those are the six ladies who qualified, leaving it up to Matthew to pick the final six competitors. She had a risky pick in Suzanne Pettersen in 2019, but it proved to be the best pick as she drained her birdie putt to win it all for the Europeans.

However, for the most part, in 2021, Matthew didn’t have any risky picks. Instead, she went decided to pick three rookies along with three experienced players

Here are the captain’s picks for Team Europe:

  1. Leona Maguire
  2. Madelene Sagstrom 
  3. Matilda Castren
  4. Nanna Koerstz Madsen
  5. Mel Reid
  6. Celine Boutier

The three rookies are Maguire, Castren and Madsen. Maguire will be the first Irishwoman to play in the Solheim Cup, and she deserves it the way she has played so far this season.

She has five top-10s  and nine top-15s so far with her best finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, where she placed solo-second. Maguire also finished tied for second at the LOTTE Championship.

Even though she will be in her first Solheim Cup, Maguire shouldn’t have a problem scoring points. She ranks No. 6 in the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation with 1.75 and ranks No. 4 in scoring average with a 69.94. Maguire excites me the most out of all the rookies because of how well she has played despite being a second-year LPGA player.

Solheim Cup, Team Europe

Finland’s Matilda Castren. (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Castren will be the first Finnish player to represent Team Europe, and like Maguire, earned her captain’s pick. She has one win on the season and two top-10s as she took home the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. Castren also has a solo-second place at the Volunteers of America Classic.

She will be another player who will be someone who can potentially have a big rookie Solheim Cup appearance. Castren is the No. 2 player in hitting greens in regulation with 77.48% and has 17 rounds in the 60s, so look out for her to show up in a big way.

The final rookie is Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who has two top 10s in major championships — T5 at AIG Women’s Open and T3 at ANA  Inspiration. Madsen is long off the tee as she is No. 7 in the LPGA, averaging 275.78. She could prove to be a nice surprise for the Europeans to have on the team as well.

Team Europe’s final three captain’s picks all have at least one Solheim Cup under their belt. After going 4-0-0 in the 2019 Solheim Cup, Celine Boutier was an obvious choice for Matthew.  She and Hall were the lone two players to go undefeated and helped seal the victory. It also helps that she has four top-10 and seven top 20 finishes on the year.

Boutier is playing strong golf right now, and if the Americans aren’t strategic in who they pair with her could see another impressive record.

Madelen Sagstrom was on the 2017 team where she finished 1-2-0, but after a T2 finish at the AIG Women’s Open, her second time around should produce better results.

The final captain’s pick, Mel Reid, will make her fourth Solheim Cup appearance as she is 4-6-2 overall. She has two top 10s, with her best finish coming at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play Hosted by Shadow Creek, where she finished T9.

However, she missed the cut at two of the last three majors, but in the two she made the weekend in, she went T14 at the ANA  Inspiration and T46 at the U.S. Women’s Open. So she could be the riskiest captain’s pick for Matthew.

The 2021 Solheim Cup should be one exciting week of women’s golf as these two teams have some of the LPGA’s best players on tour right now. Both Team USA and Team Europe have a healthy amount of experience on their teams but also have rookies who could be the deciding factor.