Carin Koch sticks with Europe's winners for Solheim Cup defence

Koch invested in experience over youth with her picks for the forthcoming duel with the United States

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The Independent Online

There is nothing quite like it in European women’s golf, the moment the phone rings and it is not a cold caller offering to fix your computer but the Solheim Cup captain asking if you fancy playing a few holes next month in Germany.

Carin Koch completed her line-up for the forthcoming duel with the United States at Golf Club St Leon-Rot with her four wild-card selections. They are led by the oldest competitor on either side, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, who at 46 is two years the senior to her captain.

Koch invested in experience over youth with her picks by adding three more players who were in the side that won on US soil for the first time two years ago, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, Caroline Masson of Germany and France’s Karine Icher.

Hedwall returned an unprecedented five points from her five matches in Colorado and, though her form has not been great, her matchplay pedigree could not be ignored.

“I’m just really excited about it,” she said. “After my last two tournaments I wasn’t expecting anything and when Carin called I was really happy because I love the Solheim Cup and I’m really pumped to get to Germany and play.”

Icher is making her third appearance but her first in Europe. “It was really nice to be selected,” she said. “I know that some people will be disappointed so I’m very proud to be on the team representing Europe and we’ll do our best to win the cup.”

Masson is one of two Germans in the European team alongside Sandra Gal. “It’s been a huge goal to make the team for the last two years and I have been waiting for that call, to see what decision Carin would make,” Masson said. “It’s going to be a huge event and I feel so happy and fortunate to be a part of it.”

Matthew is making her eighth appearance in the event. She earned the point that closed out the cup for Europe in Sweden in 2003 and the half that secured victory in Colorado. “Obviously, I was delighted and very excited when Carin gave me the phone call,” she said. “My main aim has been to get in the team. As you get older, it gets harder to qualify but this will be my eighth one so it will be great to play at home and defend it, hopefully.”

Koch believes this team is as strong as any sent out by Europe, who are hoping to make it a hat-trick of wins for the first time and narrow the gap to the USto 8-6. Kettering’s Charley Hull, last year’s Ladies European Tour order of merit winner, who at 19 is the youngest in the contest, and Derby’s Melissa Reid, who leads the LET rankings this season, complete the British contingent.

Koch said: “We’ve got a great mixture of youth and experience. Each of our players has a role to play and I have a team of stars. Now the team is finalised we can all have full focus for the week in Germany.

“I won’t interfere too much before then. The team will get together after the final major of the season, the Evian, in France, and then we travel by bus to Germany. There is a great chemistry between the players.

“My job is to ensure that everybody is relaxed, focused and ready to play. I know the team environment is very strong. We are used to this format in Europe and the girls all know each other very well.”

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