Saturday 29 April 2017

Nicholas keen on Irish Solheim player

Karl MacGinty

WILL next year's Solheim Cup come too soon for Ireland's top female golfers?

The prospects of an Irish player teeing it up against the USA at Killeen Castle in September 2011 topped the agenda yesterday, as European captain Alison Nicholas met the media on her first site visit to the new Jack Nicklaus signature course.

This week the magnificent Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, became the youngest players, at 15, to be selected for the amateur Curtis Cup. With Danielle McVeigh (22) also in the GB&I side, this island clearly is rich with golfing talent.

Yet they won't be on Tour in time for next year's Solheim Cup and, while professionals Rebecca Coakley, Hazel Kavanagh, Martina Gillen and Alison Walshe are doing their utmost to make the European team, the odds and time are against them.

Nicholas, who played six Solheim Cups and captained the team beaten in Chicago last year, made it clear that much as she'd like to have an Irish player on her team, her four wild cards will be awarded strictly on the basis of performance.

Coakley is best of the Irish in 16th place in the Ladies European Tour Solheim Cup points list, 12 away from the four automatic spots, while she's a distant 225th in the world rankings.

"There may well be an Irish player in there. I know Rebecca Coakley has been working very hard on her game and you never know what's going to happen in the next year and a half," said Nicholas, who described the Killeen Course as "fabulous".

Irish Independent

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