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Americans favourite for Solheim Cup

The United States are favourites but European captain Helen Alfredsson hopes home advantage will upset the odds in the Solheim Cup which starts on Friday.

Alfredsson has set up the course to suit her power hitters and is relying on the fact that most of the 100,000 spectators expected at the three-day contest will be on her team's side.

"I looked at my team and they are all big hitters and so I've set the course up nice and long," said the Swede, who appeared in seven of the Ryder Cup-style Solheim Cup competitions as a player.

"It's been a very different experience being captain but everything I've done is to try and suit my players and help them feel comfortable.

"It's all about them and making them feel as normal as possible going into a tournament. I'm happy because they have all been playing well and I'm certainly feeling confident. Home advantage does make a huge difference."

The U.S. have won the Solheim Cup six times to Europe's three, with all three European successes coming on home turf -- twice in Scotland (Dalmahoy in 1992 and Loch Lomond in 2000) and once in Sweden, at Barseback in 2003.

U.S. captain Betsy King is a quieter leader than the flamboyant Alfredsson, who was jokingly described on Tuesday by fellow Swede Linda Wessberg as "totally crazy". But she is just as determined.

King, who played in five Solheim Cups, can draw on a wealth of experience with players of the calibre of Juli Inkster, reigning U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr, Sherri Steinhauer and Pat Hurst.

Morgan Pressel, at 19 the youngest player in either of the 12-strong teams, is another strong U.S. asset, having won the Kraft Nabisco tournament in March.

Pressel is one of four U.S. rookies alongside Stacy Prammanasudh, Nicole Castrale and Brittany Lincicome, last year's Women's World Matchplay victor.

On the European side, Laura Davies maintains her remarkable record of playing in every Solheim Cup, moving on to number 10 after playing in the first in 1990.

The Europeans have three rookies -- Wessberg, Becky Brewerton of Wales and Bettina Hauert of Germany.

The world rankings show a huge disparity in the teams. Laura Diaz is the lowest ranked of the U.S. line-up at number 37 but is still ahead of seven of the Europeans.

But other factors will come into play when the contest begins on Friday morning and the home team will draw strength from the memory of the second Solheim Cup at Dalmahoy 15 years ago when Europe were given no chance but emerged comfortable 11.5-6.5 victors.

 

 




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