Davies back for 10th shot at cup glory

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The Independent Online

Not for a minute did Laura Davies think her last experience of playing in the Solheim Cup would be that humiliating 7 and 5 loss in the singles to Paula Creamer, an American rookie, two years ago. Davies is back again for a 10th appearance, the only player to have featured in every match since the women's version of the Ryder Cup started in 1990. She will get the opportunity for swift revenge here as she and Becky Brewerton face Creamer and Juli Inkster in this morning's opening foursomes.

Home advantage could be the telling factor with 100,000 Swedish fans expected over the next few days. The US lead the series 6-3 but only one match has gone to the away team, with Davies calling the gallery Europe's "13th man".

The Solheim Cup would not seem complete without the charismatic Englishwoman and she is determined to be back for more. "God, no," replied the 43-year-old when asked if two years ago might have been it. "And I don't consider this will be my last Solheim either. I'm playing as well now as I've ever played."

Davies added a footnote, typical of her nonchalant approach to the game. "Everyone goes on about all this fitness but golf is just walking and swinging a club," she said. "I don't buy into it at all. If you don't think I can walk 36 holes a day because I'm 43, I think you're wrong."

Davies cannot abide standing idly by and not being involved so it is probably best she has only ever missed one session to date, and it appears she has a role this week in looking after Brewerton, the first Welsh player to appear in the cup and one of only two rookies trusted for the first session, the other being 19-year-old American Morgan Pressel.

One of Brewerton's biggest assets is her long hitting, making her an ideal foil for Davies. Length could be key this week, with the Halmstad course set longer than regular women's venues, and wet and windy weather in the forecast.

Davies recalled how in 1990 the Europeans were mere "up-and-comers against the legends of the game". Now most of the players are friends, with the 47-year-old Inkster one of Davies' closest. Inkster is also close to many of the younger Americans, including the 21-year-old Creamer, because she has teenage daughters. Davies, teasingly, said she was friends with all the Americans, "well, maybe not one". This match is certainly not a friendly.

SOLHEIM CUP (Europe v United States, Halmstad, Sweden) Tee-off times (Europe names first, all times BST): 07.05 S Pettersen & S Gustafson v P Hurst & C Kerr. 07.20 A Sorenstam & C Matthew v S Steinhauer & L Diaz. 07.35 L Davies & B Brewerton v J Inkster & P Creamer. 07.50 G Nocera & M Hjorth v N Gulbis & M Pressel.