Solheim Cup: Rookies feature heavily in Thursday morning foursomes


Inkster and Matthew opt to play majority of rookies in first foursomes session of the Solheim Cup as Korda sisters set to make event history

Solheim Cup Captains Catriona Matthew and Julie Inkster have both opted to play the majority of their team rookies in the first morning session of the Solheim Cup, with just Europe's Anne Van Dam and America's Ally McDonald the only two of nine not playing in Friday's foursomes. 

Both Captain's made it clear their intention is to have all rookies in their team play on the first day of the Solheim, with Van Dam and McDonald (the replacement for injured Stacy Lewis) expected to feature in the afternoon fourball session.  

"I really wanted to get my rookies out there in the morning and get them out playing," said Inkster. "That was a lot of our thinking. And I feel like we got some pretty good alternate shot players, so we'll see how they do."

"We wanted to try and get as many rookies out aas we could the first day, the first morning," agreed Matthew. "It's just that's a long hang-on if they wait to go any later. And they're all keyed up, ready to go.

"So really that was why Bronte and Celine were in the first two groups, really, just to get them out there and get them on the course. I just feel the longer they have to hang around and wait the more nervous they're going to get."

• Friday: Live Women's Golf, Sky Sports Main Event (07:30), Sky Sports Golf (07:30), Sky Sports Mix (07:30)

Friday Morning Foursomes: Tee Times

8:10am - Carlota Ciganda & Bronte Law vs Morgan Pressel & Marina Alex

8:22am – Georgia Hall & Celine Boutier vs Lexi Thompson & Brittany Altomare

8:34am – Caroline Masson & Jodi Ewart Shadoff vs Jessica Korda & Nelly Korda

8:46am – Charley Hull & Azahara Munoz vs Megan Khang & Annie Park

Sitting Out
• Europe: Caroline Hedwall, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Anne Van Dam
• USA: Danielle Kang, Ally McDonald, Lizette Salas Angel Yin, 

Friday Morning Foursomes: How the teams match up

Match 1: Carlota Ciganda & Bronte Law vs Morgan Pressel & Marina Alex
Morgan Pressel, one of Inkster's wildcards and the most experienced player in the U.S team's Solheim Cup squad, partners with rookie Marina Alex for the first match of the morning. They are up against rookie Bronte Law, who won her first LPGA Tour title earlier this year, and Carlota Ciganda, who finished inside the top 10 in three majors this year. It's one of two match-ups in the first morning session where the European players are both ranked higher in the world than the Americans.

  Nationality World
Age Solheim
Carlota Ciganda ESP 12 29 3
Bronte Law ENG 26 24 ROOKIE  
Morgan Pressel USA 32 31 4 ('07,'09,'11,
'13, '15)
Marina Alex USA 55 29 ROOKIE

Matthew says: "Bronte was champing at the bit to go. So just getting her out early. That was kind of my thinking."

Inkster says: "Morgan and Marina have been doing well together, so we decided - Morgan likes to go first. So we just kind of put them out there."

Match 2: Georgia Hall & Celine Boutier vs Lexi Thompson & Brittany Altomare
Lexi Thompson

2018 British Women's Open champion Georgia Hall impressed as a rookie two years ago when she played 5/5 matches, and has been teamed up with rookie Celine Boutier, who won the LPGA Tour's ISPS Handa Vic Open earlier this year and has experience both at the Junior Solheim Cup and Vagliano Trophy - where she was part of a winning team three times. World No. 3 Lexi Thompson, who is playing in her fourth Solheim Cup, was left without her regular partner when Cristie Kerr failed to make the team, and instead teams up with rookie Brittany Altomare (who finished T3 at the Cambia Portland Classic two weeks ago) after she was impressed by her teammate while playing alongside her in Canada.

 Age   Solheim
Georgia Hall ENG  28  23  1 ('17)  2-3-0
Celine Boutier FRA  56  25 ROOKIE  
Lexi Thompson USA  3  24  3
('13, '15, '17)

Brittany Altomare

USA  33  28 ROOKIE  

Inkster said of the pairing: "You've got two great players playing together. They just kind of fed off each other. Yes we miss Cristie, but I think Brittany Altomare showed us a lot this year. She didn't miss a cut. She's my leading birdie getter for the United States. And it's funny, her and Lexi just hit it off. So to me, it works out well that they're playing together."

Match 3: Caroline Masson & Jodi Ewart Shadoff vs Jessica Korda & Nelly Korda

Jessica and Nelly Korda are set to make history on Thursday when they become the first sisters to play in a Solheim Cup match together, but it's only happening because they asked Captain Julie Inkster to consider it. Jessica was set to make the '17 Solheim Cup but withdrew because of injury. Both sisters have recently recorded top 10s on Tour, with Nelly the runner-up at the Hanwha Classic two weeks ago. They are up against Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who lost their only foursomes match together 5&3 against Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson in 2017. Shadoff was a wildcard pick, while Masson comes to Gleneagles following a top 10 at the CP Women's Open at the end of August.

   Nationality  World
 Age   Solheim
Caroline Masson GER  49  30  3
Jodi Ewart Shadoff ENG  82  31  2 ('17, '13)  3-4-0
Jessica Korda USA  18  26  1 ('15)  1-2-1
Nelly Korda USA  10  21  ROOKIE

Inkster said of the Korda sisters: "They actually asked me to play together. I wasn't too keen on it. But the more I thought about it, it would be stupid not to play them. They really are two different personalities. Even though they have the same games, and I just felt like I could put one on one side and one on the other side - but they're a strong team together and they wanted to play together. So that's why I did it."

Match 4: Charley Hull & Azahara Munoz vs Megan Khang & Annie Park

Despite both playing in all three previous editions of the Solheim Cup, Hull and Munoz are pairing up for the first time this week: Hull has never lost a foursomes match in the Solheim Cup, while Munoz has a 2-2-1 record. They are up against the rookie pairing of Megan Khang and Annie Park. Khang is the only one of the two with junior Solheim Cup experience, and recorded two top 10s in majors this year.

   Nationality   World
  Age  Solheim
Charley Hull   ENG  29  23  3
Azahara Munoz   ESP  36  31  3   4-6-1
Megan Khang  USA  45  21  ROOKIE  
Annie Park  USA  42  24  ROOKIE