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Europe captain Catriona Matthew targets historic Solheim Cup win in Ohio

The 50-year-old aims to become the first European captain to secure home-and-away victories at Inverness Golf Club.

Catriona Matthew will captain Team Europe for a second time in 2021 (Ian Rutherford/PA)
Catriona Matthew will captain Team Europe for a second time in 2021 (Ian Rutherford/PA)

By Andy Newport, PA

Catriona Matthew hopes to make history in America in two years’ time after signing up for her second go as Europe’s Solheim Cup captain.

The Scot guided her side to victory over the United States just two months ago and will now aim to become the first European skipper to secure home-and-away victories.

Suzann Pettersen – the hero of this year’s event at Gleneagles after she clinched a dramatic 14½-13½ win by sinking the final putt of the weekend – will assist Matthew alongside fellow vice-captains Laura Davies and Kathryn Imrie.

Team Europe’s only previous triumph across the Atlantic came in 2013 and Matthew – a veteran of nine Solheim Cups as a player – knows the size of the task awaiting her team at the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio in 2021.

The 50-year-old from Edinburgh – back at the Perthshire scene of this year’s victory for the announcement of her re-appointment – said: “I’m thrilled to have the chance to do it again.

“I really enjoyed Gleneagles with the dream finish we had and I’m now relishing the chance to go to the Unites States and try to defend the cup in 2021.

“I probably thought about it for about three or four weeks afterwards.

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Team Europe celebrate their 2019 Solheim Cup victory (Ian Rutherford/PA)

“You couldn’t top the week here at Glengeales in front of the home fans, being so close to my own home and the way it obviously finished. It was pretty amazing.

“But the chance to go to America and do something that’s never been done, winning home and away back-to-back, is a challenge I’m really looking forward to.

“It’s nice to do something that has not been done before.

“The core of the team will probably be the same again, while obviously there will always be new faces coming in. We’ve got a good group of players and we’ve got every chance of winning it in the States.

Winning this year is probably one of the biggest moments of my career Catriona Matthew

“It will be more difficult, we’ve only won it once over there in Colorado but we’re going to have some of the younger players like Anna Nordqvist and Celine Boutier being more experienced this time.

“It would be a huge achievement to win it back-to-back. You see it in all team events, it’s very difficult to win it away from home.”

Europe were the underdogs going into this year’s three-day showdown on the PGA Centenary Course but Matthew’s leadership saw them overcome the odds.

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Matthew secured the winning half point when Europe enjoyed their only previous victory on US soil in 2013 (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I would say most of the players got in touch to say they’d be happy for me to do it again, so that definitely had an influence in my decision to accept the role again,” she said.

“Winning this year is probably one of the biggest moments of my career, right up there with my British Open win in 2009.”

Matthew originally named Pettersen as a vice-captain for September’s event only to later hand her a wild card pick to join her 12-player team.

As fate would have it, the 38-year-old Norwegian went on to steal the headlines as she kept her nerve to hole the clinching eight-foot putt in her final singles head-to-head with America’s Marina Alex.

Pettersen shocked the gold public the following day as she announced her retirement from playing duties – but she will reunite with Matthew in Ohio.

“Suzann is certainly not going to be playing but I think we are going to keep the three vice-captains together of Laura Davies, Kathryn Imrie and Suzann,” Matthew confirmed.

“We’ll go with the same team – it seemed to work well the first time so there’s no point changing.”

PA

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