September 11, 2019
Team USA winning captain Mary Bea Porter-King hopes the PING Junior Solheim Cup showed the competition is about more than golf.
Before The 2019 Solheim Cup takes place, the Team USA and Team Europe juniors went head to head in a hard-fought contest on the King’s Course at Gleneagles.
An evenly matched competition saw both sides level at 3-3 after the morning foursomes on the opening day, where Team Europe claimed three convincing wins. But the Americans held a 7½-4½ lead overnight after stretching ahead in the afternoon fourball session.
Team Europe produced a determined comeback in the singles, but it was not enough as Brianna Navarrosa ensured America retained the cup with a 1 up victory against Mimi Rhodes.
After her team secured victory, captain Porter-King recognised the tournament was a great opportunity for the players to compete on the world stage.
“It’s a great opportunity for these girls to compete in different countries, to learn different cultures – there is so much to be learned in a week like this,” she said.
“It’s not just about the golf, it’s really about their friendships. The golf brought them here, I’m just so happy for them.
“The game has come such a long way. For them to be here at the same venue as The Solheim Cup is such a wonderful opportunity.
“Both teams have been so gracious to the young players. It’s shown us that golf, and not only golf, is in good hands with these young players.”
One of Team USA’s players Michaela Morard, who claimed two points in the fourballs and foursomes, is on a trip out of her home country for only the second time in her life.
“The overall emotion just for today when we found out we retained the cup was so awesome,” she said.
“We were all gathered around 18 watching Brianna putt and when she made it all of just screamed so loud and stormed the green. It was a great atmosphere and I loved being a part of it.
“This is only my second time out of the US so being able to come to Gleneagles in Scotland and meet the (Solheim Cup) players has been unbelievable.
“It’s been such a great experience. When we were on the driving range they would come up and talk to us and it was just so awesome.”
Despite the disappointment of losing the contest, European captain Mickey Walker believes the competition is the perfect grounding for young players.
“From the two main Solheim Cup teams this year, six out of 12 of the Americans played Junior Solheim Cup and 10 out of the 12 Europeans played it,” Walker said.
“So that tells you, they don’t just go on to play in The Solheim Cup, but they go on and become Major Champions. It really is a development into the main event.”