Team Europe Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen insists Leona Maguire will be a vital part of her team when the biennial contest takes place in September.
Maguire is destined to make her second successive appearance for Europe after a record-breaking performance as a rookie in 2021 and Pettersen has described her as the ideal match player.
“I don’t think Leona understands how good she is and how important she is for the team,” said the retired Norwegian. “I’ve got to know her quite well. I remember I played in the Irish Open and she was like 9! It’s been fun to see her development and she has turned into a great player. She’s a fighter and I’m just very glad to have her on my team.
“If I was playing she would definitely be one of my favourites to play with. She’s a fighter and she has every shot in the bag. She’s gonna be hopefully a leading star for this year and future Solheim Cups to come.
“She likes to play aggressive, she’s feisty and she’s not afraid which is important. You just roll up your sleeves and go fight. She does that really well.”
Pettersen was speaking at the One Green Way Invitational in Quinta Do Lago. The pro-am was played out on the immaculate golf course of Quinta do Lago against the backdrop of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, world- famous names include on the men’s side numerous Ryder Cup Captains and Vice Captains, and on the women’s side Solheim Cup Captains and Vice Captains, including Bernhard Langer, Annika Sorenstam, Colin Montgomerie, Dame Laura Davies and Jose Maria Olazabal.
The two-time major champion really enjoyed the event and was delighted to play some competitive golf with a tasty €332,500 prize fund up for grabs.
“It was a lovely three days for me it was great to be back playing a bit of golf. I really enjoyed coming to Quinta Do Lago, it was my first time, my golf was OK, I didn’t know what to expect given I hadn’t played in a long time. A bit like every golfer, the more you play the more the frustration comes back! It’s been lovely here.
“I’m amazed by the pros that have played in it. I heard great things after last year and I knew I had to be part of it because it looked like so much fun so it was a no brainer when I was asked to come.”
One Green Way is an award-winning development of 89 luxury serviced residences within a gated community in the sought-after resort of Quinta do Lago. One Green Way provides residents with the last word in contemporary outdoor living, amenities and facilities in the Algarve.
Set within mature landscaped grounds on the North Course of Quinta do Lago, One Green Way provides a unique opportunity to own a state-of-the-art home that balances health and wellness with comfort and leisure. Imaginative design fosters a sense of belonging and community, whilst carefully curated facilities deliver next-level luxury and ease.
Within easy walking distance from the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the pure white sand of Quinta do Lago Beach, One Green Way represents the last new build development within Quinta do Lago, making this an extremely desirable investment opportunity.
For the 41-year-old Pettersen, attentions are firmly on Finca Cortesin in September as Europe bid to win three Solheim Cups in a row for the first time in their history.
Pettersen is in a unique situation where she does not need to worry about her own golf and can devote all of her time to conjuring up the winning formula.
“I feel like preparations are going quite well. Now it is different because I don’t have to worry about my golf game but we are on track. It’s really fun to see how the players are doing. I feel like a lot of the Europeans are playing well, a lot of them have won in the last year or so which is important to give them confidence.
“All our rookies are doing well. From a team perspective we look pretty good, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but at least it’s nice to bring some confidence to play on home soil.
“I have fallen in love with Finca Cortesin, if you have been there you will understand why. I’m still curious to see how the venue will go down with the crowds but the golf course is so fun it is a great matchplay course, you will see the best of Spain.”
Pettersen held the winning putt at Gleneagles in 2019 after being a controversial pick by captain Catriona Matthew following two years away from the game on maternity leave. She subsequently announced her retirement from professional golf that evening.
The 15-time LPGA Tour winner feels there has been a shift in mentality in European teams and is embracing the pressure of trying to create history.
“We have had great teams and great players, I think we have had a few more bounces go our way and a few more putts drop in our favour. There is a lot more pressure to pick up this captaincy when you can do a three-peat which is why I begged Beanie to take one more year to have that pressure. I enjoy it, it will be a great challenge, the players are up for it and the talent in Europe is very good these days.
“This year we will have a few rookies on the team but at the same time that has shown in the past that our rookies don’t play as rookies. They are so strong when they go out there. I was part of teams where the rookie would give up the point before hitting a shot. I think the mentality has changed.”
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