Maguire and Castren make Solheim Cup history for holders Europe

London (AFP) –


Leona Maguire and Matilda Castren will become the first Irish and Finnish women golfers to play in the Solheim Cup between holders Europe and the United States after being named as two of captain Catriona Matthew's wild card picks.

Maguire and Castren will line up alongside the likes of Sunday's Women's Open champion Anna Nordqvist -- her seventh successive Solheim Cup appearance -- in the biennial event that takes place at the Inverness course in Toledo, Ohio, from September 4-6.

Maguire tied for 13th spot behind Nordqvist in what was her ninth top 15 finish this season and suggests she is now at ease in the professional ranks after an initially difficult transition from her stellar amateur days.

"Leona has had a fantastic year this year," said Matthew.

"Obviously she was world number one amateur for a couple of years and it's maybe just taken her two or three years longer than perhaps others to settle, I think, as a pro.

"I think she's got that real grittiness. She's a really good matchplayer. I think she'll be a solid, one of these never-give-up type players.

"It's the first Irish player, the first Finnish player (Castren).

"I think it's great to see other players from different countries getting on the side."

Matthew's other captain's picks were Madelene Sagstrom, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Mel Reid and Celine Boutier.

Britain's 2018 Open champion Georgia Hall sneaked into the last automatic qualifying spot -- the golfer she displaced Finland's Sanna Nuutinen misses out altogether -- due to her finishing runner-up behind Nordqvist at Carnoustie.

Emily Pedersen, Sophia Popov, Charley Hull and Carlota Ciganda are the other automatic qualifiers.

US captain Pat Hurst will announce her three wild cards later on Monday.

World number one Nelly Korda and her sister Jessica, Danielle Kang, Ally Ewing, Austin Ernst, Lexi Thompson, Megan Khang, Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho qualified by right.