Davies and McKay join Solheim team
Monday 26 August 2002
Laura Davies of England and the Scot Mhairi McKay are the only Britons in Europe's Solheim Cup team to face the United States at Interlachen in Minnesota from 20-22 September after being named as wild cards yesterday by captain Dale Reid.
The Swedes Carin Koch and Helen Alfredsson were also chosen. Scotland's Janice Moodie, who won the Asahi Ryokuken International in America in May, is a surprise omission.
Moodie was joint leading points scorer when Europe won at Loch Lomond two years ago and also showed her liking for the big occasion when she tied for seventh place in the US Open last month. Davies and Alfredsson both maintain their record of having played in every one of the seven Solheim Cups, while there will be six rookies.
They are McKay plus five rankings qualifiers in Karine Icher, Paula Marti, Suzann Pettersen, Iben Tinning and Maria Hjorth. World number one Annika Sorenstam will head the team, while Tinning and Pettersen become the first players from Denmark and Norway respectively to play in the biennial event.
Germany's Elisabeth Esterl, who finished 10th in the rankings, has been named as travelling reserve.
"I think we have a good balance of newcomers and experience," said Reid. "I couldn't imagine a team without Laura Davies, Mhairi and Carin have both had terrific years and I still rate Helen Alfredsson as the best match player in the world."
Reid also admitted that support for the Evian European Tour was a factor that counted against both Moodie and fellow Scot Catriona Matthew. "It is a European Tour and they have to play here to be noticed," she said. "A lot of players did come back from America to try and get in to the side."
In a unique climax to the race for the seven automatic selections, Hjorth played her way in with a second place in the WPGA Championship of Europe at Royal Porthcawl yesterday. But there was confusion as she finished on 125 points and tied for seventh in the rankings with Tinning, who earned two points for a three-way tie for 10th.
With nothing in the rules to cover the situation, both players were selected, reducing from five to four Reid's wild card picks. Sweden's Asa Gottmo won with a 71 for a seven-under-par 285, two ahead of Hjorth and four up from of England's Kirsty Taylor.
The European team for the 2002 Solheim Cup
Annika Sorenstam (Sweden)
Raquel Carriedo (Spain)
Karine Icher (France)
Paula Marti (Spain)
Sophie Gustafson (Sweden)
Suzann Pettersen (Sweden)
Iben Tinning (Denmark)
Maria Hjorth (Sweden)
Laura Davies (England)
Carin Koch (Sweden)
Mhairi McKay (Scotland)
Helen Alfredsson (Sweden)
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