It is just hours until the first match of the 2023 PING Junior Solheim Cup gets underway at La Zagaleta in Spain.
Team Europe will battle it out against the U.S. Team in the 12th edition of the tournament which sees the best female amateurs aged 18 and under taking part.
The European Team, who are led by France’s Gwladys Nocera with Switzerland’s Nora Angehrn as her Vice-Captain, are looking to defend the title that they dramatically won in 2021, after a super comeback in the singles.
Seven players from that winning team in 2021 will tee it up again this week in Spain and Nocera believes the side has had good preparation.
“I’m very excited, I think the fun will start tomorrow,” she said. “We spent two great days practicing and getting to know the course, which is pretty tricky.
“It’s really good we did those two practice rounds to get the lines and the speed on the greens. It’s all about tomorrow, being on the first tee, getting the goosebumps and going for that trophy that everybody loves so much.
“I think the team is really strong, we did our best to make the best pairings for the foursomes and the fourballs. They’re good but never underestimate your opponent.
“You have to respect your opponent and play your best. In matchplay anything can happen, they will give their hearts 200% I’m sure of that and it is sport, we don’t know what’s going to happen so it’s better to enjoy it.”
Two of the players who were part of the winning team in 2021 were Germany’s Helen Briem and Belgium’s Savannah De Bock.
The duo both qualified to the team automatically with Briem finishing qualification in style winning the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship.
“I’m really excited to go to Spain and have another great week, I’m definitely really looking forward to it,” said the German.
“Last time, it was such an incredible week. It’s amazing to play against the Americans and then to watch the Solheim Cup is so inspiring and it’s just so incredible.
“It’s a good mix because some players played in the U.S. two years ago, so we definitely have experience, but we also have that fearless attitude. It’s a good mix and we definitely have a chance.”
While De Bock admits she had ‘the best week of her life’ in 2021 and can’t wait to play on European soil this week.
The Belgian explained: “I’m so excited, I just cannot wait. I try not to think about it because every time I do, I just want to say ‘Let’s go Europe!’. It’s going to be so great; we have a really strong team, we’re going to have a lot of supporters.
“I don’t think there’s added pressure, we did so great last time and we will do our best and see what happens. It’s another team, it’s another course – we are trying to win the cup – and if we do, we will make history again.”
Spain’s Rocio Tejedo, who topped the qualification rankings in August, is one of four Spanish players in Team Europe and is looking forward to experiencing the PING Junior Solheim Cup for the first time.
Tejedo added: “I’m super excited, this is my first time playing such a great event. I’m going to learn, to give my best and being here with my friends and my family in Spain is incredible. It’s a dream come true. We will try to give our best and win.”