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European Solheim Cup team capsules

Alison Nicholas
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Captain Alison Nicholas will lead the European team against the United States in the 12th edition of the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Ireland. Here is a breakdown of the 12 European team members, in alphabetical order (Click here for U.S. team capsules):

Christel Boeljon

Age: 24

Record: First appearance

World ranking: No  58

Victories: 1 LET title

The lowdown: Boeljon won the Turkish Airlines Open this year  She made the team by grabbing the fourth and last spot off the LET points list, becoming the first player from the Netherlands to make the Solheim Cup. She’s been in the hunt frequently in Europe this season with five top-10s and two second-place finishes to go with her maiden victory. After playing collegiately at Purdue, Boeljon returned to the United States this year to play in her first major, the Kraft Nabisco. She tied for 15th.

Laura Davies

Age: 47

Record: 21-17-5 (Singles: 5-5-1)

World ranking: No  88

Victories: 20 LPGA titles, 44 LET titles (4 majors)

The lowdown: The Englishwoman will be playing in a record 12th Solheim Cup, more than any European or American  She’s poised to become the all-time points leader in Solheim Cup history. Her 23½ points rank second only to Annika Sorenstam’s 24. Davies locked up her spot on this year’s team with five LET titles last year. She’s not been in particularly good form this year, with just one top-10 on the LET or LPGA tours. She’s missed four of her last five cuts in LPGA events.

Sandra Gal

Age: 26

Record: First appearance

World ranking: No  42

Victories: 1 LPGA title

The lowdown: With a victory at the LPGA’s Kia Classic, Gal vaulted into the European Solheim Cup picture, eventually making the team as one of four captain’s picks. Her victory enacted a special LET provision gaining her membership on that tour. The German has two other LPGA top-10s this year. Gal showed some good form tying for fifth at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship just two weeks ago.

Sophie Gustafson

Age: 37

Record: 9-12-6 (Singles: 2-4-1)

World ranking: No  39

Victories: 5 LPGA titles, 15 LET titles

The lowdown: Gustafson should feel confident at Killeen Castle, where she won the Irish Open last year. The Swede ought to be comfortable anywhere in Ireland, where she’s won four Irish Opens and six Irish titles overall. She earned a spot on her eighth Solheim Cup team off the world rankings list. She’ll be looking to improve around her Solheim Cup fortunes after winning just two of her last 13 matches in the biennial competition.

Caroline Hedwall

Age: 22

Record: First appearance

World ranking: No  41

Victories: 3 LET titles

The lowdown: The Swedish rookie takes a hot game to Ireland. After winning the LET Q-School event, she went on to win four tournaments around the world this year, three LET events and an Australian Tour event. She won Uniqa Ladies Open just two weeks ago.

Maria Hjorth

Age: 37

Record: 5-7-5 (Singles 0-3-1)

World ranking: No  21

Victories: 5 LPGA titles, 2 LET titles

The lowdown: Hjorth has won events in each of the last two LPGA seasons. The Swede earned a spot on her fifth Solheim Cup team off the world rankings list. She’s the second highest ranked European in the world at No  21 on the Rolex rankings. Only Suzann Pettersen ranks higher. Hjorth was 2-1-2 for the Euros in the loss at Rich Harvest Farms in ’09.

Catriona Matthew

Age: 42

Record: 10-7-4 (Singles 4-1)

World ranking: No  32

Victories: 4 LET titles, 3 LPGA titles (1 major)  

The lowdown: The Scot makes her sixth Solheim Cup appearance, earning a spot off the world rankings list. Matthew has a formidable Solheim Cup record, especially in singles, where she’s been beaten once in five tries. Matthew defeated current U S  captain Rosie Jones in 2003. She recorded the winning point by topping Jones the last time the Euros won the Solheim Cup.

Anna Nordqvist

Age: 24  

Record: 2-2 (Singles 0-1)

World ranking: No  31

Victories: 2 LPGA titles (1 major)

The lowdown: Nordqvist qualified for her second Solheim Cup off the world rankings list. She’s not a long hitter, but her accuracy makes her a dependable partner. She was 2-1 with partners in the last Solheim Cup. The Swede has shown the ability to come up big in the biggest events. Her two LPGA titles are the LPGA Championship and the LPGA Tour Championship.

Azahara Munoz

Age: 23

Record: First appearance

World ranking: No  46

Victories: 1 LET title

The lowdown: The Spaniard made her first Euro squad as one of the four Euro captain’s picks. She was the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year last season and won in her professional debut on the LET, winning the Madrid Ladies Masters in ’09.

Suzann Pettersen

Age: 30

Record: 9-7-5 (Singles 0-3-2)

World ranking: No  2

Victories: 8 LPGA titles, 5 LET titles (1 major)

The lowdown: The best player on the Euro roster, Pettersen is the definitive leader of this team. She’s No  2 in the world rankings, making her the highest ranked player in this event. Pettersen’s formidable as a partner with a 9-4-2 record in foursomes and four-balls, but she’s yet to win a singles match in five tries.

Melissa Reid

Age: 24

Record: First appearance

World ranking: 33

Victories: 3 LET titles

The lowdown: England’s Reid brings winning momentum to Ireland after taking the title Sunday at the LET’s Spanish Open. It was her second Euro Tour victory this year. She’s been third or better in three of her last four starts in Europe. She was Europe’s Rookie of the Year in ’08 and earned her Solheim Cup spot leading the LET points list.

Karen Stupples

Age: 38  

Record: 0-2

World ranking: No  51

Victories: 2 LPGA titles, 2 LET titles (1 major)

The lowdown: Stupples was left off the last European squad but returns this year by virtue of a captain’s pick. She’ll be eager to record her first Solheim Cup victory. She lost both her matches in her debut in ’05. The Englishwoman won her major at home, taking the Women’s British Open at Sunningdale in ’04.