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Golf News: - Posted 23rd August 1998

Nilsson confident after naming European Solheim Cup team


Malmo, Sweden. - Captain Pia Nilsson was in bullish mood about Europe's chances of regaining the Solheim Cup after naming a team of six Swedes, five Britons and one Frenchwoman for the women's team golf event on Sunday.

The seven automatic places for the match against the United States at Muirfield Village, Ohio, from 18th - 20th September  went to Helen Alfredsson, Laura Davies, Trish Johnson, Alison Nicholas, Annika Sorenstam, Marie-Laure de Lorenzi and Catriona Matthew.

The five wild cards went to Sophie Gustafson, Catrin Nilsmark, Liselotte Neumann and Lisa Hackney, and Charlotta Sorenstam, younger sister of world number one Annika.

"It has been a very tough final afternoon and I'm relieved it's all over," said Nilsson, after the end of the Compaq Open, won by Annika Sorenstam by 10 shots.

"But I'm feeling very relaxed now that I know my team because I am confident that we are going to go over and put up a very strong performance.

"It is a great lineup and I couldn't be happier. We have a good mixture, with five players who have been at all four previous matches and three strong newcomers."

Unlucky to miss out were two Swedes, Maria Hjorth, who was knocked out of automatic selection by Sorenstam's success in the Compaq Open, and Carin Koch.

Koch, who was also unlucky to miss out two years ago, is seven months pregnant, so there was a doubt over her fitness for the possible 36-holes a day competition.

Gustafson, who finished second in the Weetabix British Women's Open last week, got the vote.

"It was a very difficult decision," said Nilsson. "In the end it just came down to gut reaction. But Sophie has proved she is on form and she is a young powerful player who, I am sure, will be a great asset to our chances of regaining the Cup over such a tough course."

The five ever-presents are Alfredsson, Davies, Johnson, Nicholas and Neumann, while Matthew, Charlotta Sorenstam and Gustafson are the three newcomers.

Two years ago the U.S. won 17-11 after trailing 9-7 going into the final day singles. Europe's only win to date came in 1992 in Scotland.

The U.S. team to defend the trophy will be named next Sunday.