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European team announce Solheim wildcards

Britain's Janice Moodie was a surprise selection when European Solheim Cup captain Catrin Nilsmark announced her five wildcard picks on Monday for next month's showdown with the United States.

Moodie was named along with compatriot Catriona Matthew, Frenchwoman Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Swede Carin Koch and Suzann Pettersen of Norway to join the seven automatic qualifiers at the eighth Solheim Cup in Malmo, Sweden.

Nilsmark opted for Scot Moodie at the expense of Britain's Becky Morgan, who has produced seven top-10 finishes this year, but the Swedish skipper said it had been a tough decision.

"It was very difficult this afternoon," Nilsmark told a news conference after Australia's Shani Waugh won the Wales WPGA Championship of Europe by two shots at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.

"Basically, my choices came down to two players in the end and Becky Morgan was obviously one of them.

"I do think Janice has good current form and Becky has been playing wonderfully all year.

"But it came down to experience. Janice has been there before and we all know she is a very good match player," Nilsmark added of Moodie, who played a significant role in Europe's victory at Loch Lomond three years ago."

The other four wildcard picks had been widely predicted.

Meunier-Lebouc won this year's Kraft Nabisco Championship, the opening major of the year, Koch is undefeated in the Solheim Cup, Pettersen made her debut in the biennial competition at Interlachen last year and Matthew was controversially omitted from the last two matches.

Nilsmark's European team will be bidding to regain the Solheim Cup from the U.S. at Barseback Golf and Country Club from September 12-14, and she is delighted with the balance of her 12-player line-up.

"I have two rookies and so does (U.S. captain) Patti (Sheehan) and most of our players know each other really well, so I don't think I will have many problems with pairings during the week.

"But I am really happy with my team and we are all looking forward to going there in a couple of weeks."

The Solheim Cup -- the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup -- is a biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition featuring the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA Tour and the best European-born players from the Ladies European Tour (LET).

The U.S. team, which has never lost on home soil, lead the competition 5-2, having staged a dramatic comeback to win at Interlachen, Minnesota in 2002.

The European team: Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Laura Davies (Britain), Sophie Gustafson (Sweden), Elisabeth Esterl (Germany), Iben Tinning (Denmark), Ana-Belen Sanchez (Spain), Mhairi McKay (Britain), Catriona Matthew (Britain), Janice Moodie (Britain), Carin Koch (Sweden), Patricia Meunier Lebouc (France), Suzann Pettersen (Norway).


 

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