Leona Maguire won 4.5 points on her Solheim Cup debut in 2021; can Team Europe claim a historic third consecutive victory over Team USA? Watch the opening ceremony live on Thursday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf ahead of day one live on Friday from 6.30am.
By Ali Stafford at Finca Cortesin
Last Updated: 19/09/23 3:00pm
Leona Maguire is refusing to put any additional pressure on herself as she looks to build on a stellar Solheim Cup debut and help create history for Team Europe this week in Spain.
Maguire top-scored for Catriona Matthew’s side in a 15-13 victory in 2021, winning 4.5 points in an unbeaten debut as Team Europe successfully defended their title on American soil.
The Irishwoman has won twice on the LPGA Tour in the two years since and contended in several majors during that time, cementing inside the world’s top 20, with Maguire likely to play a key role for Suzann Pettersen’s side at Finca Cortesin.
Team Europe are chasing a third consecutive win over Team USA for the first time in the tournament’s history, although Maguire played down the prospect of her stellar achievements in her previous Solheim Cup appearance.
“Obviously last time went about as well as it possibly could have, but it’s a brand-new event this time,” Maguire said in her pre-tournament press conference. “It’s a brand-new venue and a brand-new team, both on the Europe and the US side.
“I think the US have a fantastic team this time. I think they have a young team that’s ready to go. Ultimately, I’ll try and win as many points as I can, but we’ll just prepare as well as we can and go in with very little expectations like the last time, the same way as I approach any other event.
“Just because it’s worked well in the past doesn’t really make much difference for this time. It almost feels a little bit like a rookie again playing on home soil. This is all still a new experience for me, so will just try and enjoy the week as much as I can and feed off the energy of the crowd.”
Maguire won 2.5 points alongside Mel Reid in 2021 and one point alongside former AIG Women’s Open champion Georgia Hall, although was seen playing a practice round with Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall and Madelene Sagstrom on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old held her pre-tournament press conference alongside reigning Evian Championship winner Celine Boutier, with the pair both hinting at the possibility of the pair playing together at some point during this year’s event.
“I think we have a fantastic team this week,” Maguire added. “I think there’s lots of options of who can play with who. It’s obviously a new team and you’ll see some familiar pairings and some new pairings.
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September 22, 2023, 6:30am
“She [Pettersen] has done a lot of these, she’s done nine herself, so she knows what she’s doing. So I think both myself and Celine (Boutier) are pretty flexible. We’ll play with just about anybody, so we’re going to do whatever Suzann needs us to do this week.”
Pettersen: Europe know the plan for Friday!
Team Europe had 11 of their 12 players involved in practice rounds on Tuesday, with only Charley Hull sitting out as a precaution due to a slight neck issue, with speculation gathering on the potential partnerships that could be used by Pettersen on the opening day.
“I’ve been very transparent with the players already and I’ve literally told them what we’re thinking for Friday morning,” Pettersen told Sky Sports. “I wanted the players to take ownership and the more they early know early then the easier it is to prepare.
“I think the players are pretty set on what’s going to be happening on Friday, which I think is great. As a player I always appreciated getting the information as early as possible. Who you see playing in the practice rounds could have a lot to do with who they potentially play with [on Friday], for sure.”
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September 22, 2023, 12:30pm
Eight of the winning side from two years ago return this time around, with Caroline Hedwall also part of previous successes, with the strength of depth at her disposal leaving Pettersen plenty to consider.
“Women’s golf is about to explode,” Pettersen added. “It’s massive in Asia, it’s big in the United States and it’s obviously getting stronger and stronger here in Europe. I think the strength of the team shows the strength of the European talents coming through.
“It’s going to be fun see all these players go out there and just embrace it. It’s great to have a strong team but gives me a lot of headaches. Everyone can’t play all matches so you have to bench certain good players, but it’s a good problem to have.
“With good performances also comes expectations, but the great part here is the players are so up for it. I don’t have to say anything to inspire them or motivate them – they’re just all so on it and ready to go.”
Who will win the 2023 Solheim Cup? Watch exclusively live this September on Sky Sports! Live coverage from the opening ceremony begins at 5pm on Thursday September 21, with the opening day’s play live on the Friday from 6.30am. Stream the Solheim Cup and more with NOW.