Pathway To Golfing Stardom? Inside The PING Junior Solheim Cup

We examine the evidence supporting the PING Junior Solheim Cup as a ground for cultivating success

Ping Junior Solheim Cup tee marker
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Solheim Cup stands as the ultimate pinnacle in women's golf and a team spot is sought after by every female professional golfer from both Europe and the USA. Yet, let’s not underestimate the significance of the PING Junior Solheim Cup, which serves as a crucial pathway for many players to attain this coveted accolade on their career journey. History tells us that the junior girls competing for this cup will be the future number one golf players, Major winners and Solheim Cup players.

The idea of organising this prestigious transatlantic girls' competition, mirroring The Solheim Cup format with six fourball and six foursomes matches on the first day, and twelve singles matches on the second day, was initially proposed by John Solheim, the current Chairman and CEO of PING and a passionate advocate for women and girls' golf. Established in 2002, the event is designed for girls aged 12 to 18 and provides them with the opportunity to gain valuable international match play experience and, equally importantly, to mingle with, learn from, and be inspired by the professional players taking part in the Solheim Cup.

Ping Junior Solheim Cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Look no further than this year’s Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin, where you'll find an impressive roster: 10 out of the 12 European players and 6 US players have previously competed in the PING Junior Solheim Cup. They were budding talents back then, and today, they've evolved into global golf superstars, scripting the history of the Solheim Cup and taking the spotlight.

One of those players is Ireland’s Leona Maguire, who participated in two PING Junior Solheim Cups alongside her sister Lisa at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois in 2009 and Killeen Castle in Ireland in 2011. Maguire recalls in a recent interview for Golf Monthly, "One of the wonderful things about the Junior Solheim Cup is that you get to stay on and support the team. It feels like just yesterday when I dressed up with full face paint and carried flags, so it’s special to be on the other side now receiving that kind of support.”

Leona Maguire in action at the 2011 Ping Junior Solheim Cup

Leona Maguire in action at the 2011 Ping Junior Solheim Cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spain's Carlota Ciganda also starred in two PING Junior Solheim Cups in 2005 and 2007, as did the latest golf sensation, USA’s Solheim Cup rookie Rose Zhang, who played as recently as 2019 at Gleneagles. Additionally, five players from both sides of the Atlantic, who will be competing in the upcoming Solheim Cup, serve as proof of the junior event's excellent potential as a breeding ground for future Major champions: Anna Nordqvist, Georgia Hall, Celine Boutier, Nelly Korda, and Lexi Thompson.

The two-day 2023 PING Junior Solheim Cup, where the USA currently leads Europe 7.5-3.5, is set to take place at La Zagaleta Golf Club in Benahavis, Malaga, from September 18th to 19th. Europe clinched their first victory in 2021 on US soil, ending a streak dating back to 2007, with a tight 13-11 win. This remarkable triumph followed an exceptional performance in the second-day singles matches, where they secured 8 out of 12 available points.

European Ping Junior Solheim Cup team 2021

The European team with John Solheim after winning the 2021 Ping Junior Solheim Cup

(Image credit: Ladies European Tour)

Regardless of this year's Junior Solheim Cup's outcome, the experience for these girls will be invaluable. They'll receive guidance from captains Gwladys Nocera (Europe) and Amy Alcott (USA), while also building confidence, teamwork, mental toughness, and resilience. They'll also get a taste of media and fan exposure, all contributing to valuable life lessons. One thing is for sure: keep an eye on the names below, as many are destined to be future stars.

Team Europe

Gwladys Nocera, France – Captain

Nora Angehrn, Switzerland – Vice Captain

Cloe Amión, Spain

Yana Beeli, Switzerland

Helen Briem, Germany

Anna Cañadó, Spain

Savannah de Bock, Belgium

Francesce Fiorellini, Italy

Andrea Revuelta, Spain

Nora Sundberg, Sweden

Rocío Tejedo, Spain

Denisa Vodickova, Czech Republic

Josefin Widal, Sweden

Meja Örtengren, Sweden

Team USA

Amy Alcott, California – Captain

Libby Burroughs, Georgia – Vice Captain

Leigh Chien, California

Gianna Clemente, Florida

Anna Davis, California

Kathryn Ha, Virginia

Irene Kim, Maryland

Ryleigh Knaub, Florida

Jasmine Koo, California

Megan Meng, New Jersey

Elizabeth Rudisill, North Carolina

Anna Song, California

Asterisk Talley, California

Yana Wilson, Nevada

Alison Root

Alison Root has over 25 years experience working in media and events, predominantly dedicated to golf, in particular the women’s game. Until 2020, for over a decade Alison edited Women & Golf magazine and website, and in addition to writing, overseeing all content and developing industry relationships, she was the go-to voice for TV and radio to comment on breaking women’s golf stories. Alison is also the Editorial Director of Glorious, the new digital platform devoted to elevating women’s sport and that includes golf! She is a 14-handicap golfer (should be better) and despite having had the fantastic opportunity to play some of the best golf courses around the world, Kingsbarns in Scotland is her favourite.