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Helen Alfredsson names Solheim Cup wild cards

Captain Helen Alfredsson has chosen Maria Hjorth, Iben Tinning and Linda Wessberg as her three wild card selections for The Solheim Cup, thus completing the European Team for the contest against the United States at Halmstad Golfklubb from 14-16 September.

The Swede unveiled her choices at a press conference in Stockholm. The three players join the nine already qualified from the European Solheim standings and the Rolex World Rankings. In order of qualification, these are: Gwladys Nocera, from France, England's Trish Johnson, Germany’s Bettina Hauert, England’s Laura Davies, Wales’ Becky Brewerton, Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew and Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson. England’s Rebecca Hudson will be the first reserve.

Sweden’s Hjorth and Tinning of Denmark bring a wealth of experience to the team having between them competed in five Solheim Cups, while Wessberg, also from Sweden, will join Hauert and Brewerton in making her Solheim Cup debut.

Commenting on her picks, Alfredsson said: “Mimi (Hjorth) has played really well recently, particularly obviously at the HSBC Women’s Matchplay and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which were two world class events on testing golf courses. She’s also the leading player on the New Star Money List and with her strength and experience we didn’t even think of not having her in the team.

“Iben Tinning is another strong player with plenty of experience and some solid recent form. We’ve been impressed by Iben’s short game in recent events and her ability to make important putts. We also really like her attitude and her mental strength.

“Linda has played really well over the past few weeks in the big tournaments and particularly on the longer courses. We’ve been impressed by her game and again, her mental strength, and are really excited to have her as one of the three rookies in the team.”

Hjorth recently finished in tie for second at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and was joint fourth in the Scandinavian TPC Hosted by Annika. In addition, she was also fourth in the HSBC Women’s World Matchplay Championship.

The four-time tournament winner currently leads the Ladies European Tour’s New Star Money List with earnings of 192,658 euros from six tournaments and she has previously competed in two Solheim Cups, in 2002 and 2005.

Tinning is a five-time tournament winner on the Ladies European Tour and has competed in all three of the most recent Solheim Cups, in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Since giving birth to her first son, Mads, on 7th March 2006, she has recovered her form steadily.

Wessberg is a Solheim Cup rookie. The 27-year-old, who turned professional and joined the Ladies European Tour in 2003, earned her first LET victory in 2006 at the Wales Ladies Championship of Europe and followed it up with a second victory at this year’s Vediorbis Open de France Dames. She also finished tied for seventh at the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open. Like Alfredsson, she hails from the nearby city of Gothenburg and she is sure to bring vociferous support to Halmstad.

The 12 European team members are as follows:
1. Gwladys Nocera (France)
2. Trish Johnson (England)
3. Bettina Hauert (Germany)
4. Laura Davies (England)
5. Becky Brewerton (Wales)
6. Annika Sorenstam (Sweden)
7. Suzann Pettersen (Norway)
8. Catriona Matthew (Scotland)
9. Sophie Gustafson (Sweden)
10. Maria Hjorth (Sweden)
11. Iben Tinning (Denmark)
12. Linda Wessberg (Sweden)

The United States team will be finalised at the conclusion of the Safeway Classic presented by Pepsi in Portland, Oregan, USA, on Sunday 26th August.


August 22, 2007

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