Golfing spotlight on US Women's Open

The world’s best have descended on the County Club of Charleston in South Carolina this week for the second major championship of the season - the US Women’s Open.

A host of Solheim Cup hopefuls from Europe and the United States are teeing it up as they look to etch their name on the trophy of the oldest of the LPGA Tour’s five majors.

Players can also boost their chances of booking their place at Gleneagles in September as the selection process for the biennial transatlantic contest draws to a conclusion.

With the countdown on before the final 12 players on each side are confirmed, Juli Inkster and Catriona Matthew will be keeping a close eye on the goings on at the US Open.

And ahead of this year’s championship, here’s a look at the former US Open champions from Europe and the United States who have gone on to impress in the Solheim Cup.

AMERICAN STARS DOMINATE

The US Open has often been the event where Americans have ended their major drought, with the last four home winners all claiming their maiden major championship at the event.

Brittany Lang had already represented Team USA four times in the Solheim Cup before she clinched her first major in a play-off against Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist.

Her triumph at CordeValle in San Martin ensured she also represented her country at the 2017 Solheim Cup, where she won two of her games in America’s 16.5-11.5 victory.

Michelle Wie had also already made her Solheim Cup debut - a sensational unbeaten showing in 2009 as she helped USA to victory - before ending her major duck in 2014.

The Hawaii native was also part of the team in 2011 and 2013 before winning the US Open in North Carolina, while she helped her country to Solheim Cup victories in the 2015 and 2017.

Meanwhile, Paula Creamer was crowned US Open champion in 2010 - five years after making her Solheim Cup debut - and has been ever-present in the American Solheim Cup team.

Another USA regular is nine-time Solheim Cup star Cristie Kerr, the US Open winner in 2007 at Southern Pines in North Carolina, who has won 21 points in the matchplay contest overall.

ANNIKA LEADS EURO CHARGE

European winners at the US Open are a rare breed - but then Annika Sorenstam is one of a kind.

While there have only been five separate European champions at the major championship in its history, the Swede triumphed at the US Open three times during her career.

Sorenstam came from five strokes back to win the title for the first time in 1995 in Colorado, finishing one shot ahead of American Meg Mallon to claim her first major.

She defended her title the following year at Southern Pines in North Carolina to become the first non-American to win back-to-back US Opens with a dominant six-stroke victory.

A decade passed before Sorenstam completed the hat-trick by claiming her third US Open - and her tenth major title - at Newport Country Club in a play-off against Pat Hurst.

Sorenstam’s success in the majors was matched by her Solheim Cup showings, representing Europe on eight occasions between 1994 and 2007 and winning 24 points.

She was the all-time leading points earner until her record was surpassed by 1987 US Open champion Laura Davies in 2011, before captaining Europe in the 2017 Solheim Cup.

SOLHEIM CUP CAPTAIN SUCCESS

Six-time major champion Betsy King is among the group of US Open champions who have also represented her country as a player and a captain in the Solheim Cup.

King made her bow in the matchplay battle at the very first Solheim Cup in 1990 - the same year she defended her US Open title with a one-stroke triumph over compatriot Patty Sheehan.

Her first US Open victory, and second major title, came a year earlier at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion, where she finished four shots ahead of Nancy Lopez.

She also represented the USA at the Solheim cup in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998 before going on to captain the team in 2007, leading the Americans to a 16-12 victory in Sweden.

Meg Mallon was crowned US Open champion twice in her career, winning the title for the first time in 1991 before going on to make her Solheim Cup debut a year later in Edinburgh.

She won the US Open again in 2004 and represented her country in the Solheim Cup eight times, before serving as assistant captain in 2009 and the captain in 2013 as America lost on home soil.

Juli Inkster, who will captain America for a third time this year, is also a two-time US Open winner (1999, 2002) and a Solheim Cup legend, having won more matches than any other American.


 

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