Leona Maguire’s pioneering journey in her professional career will take another major step after the 26-year-old Co Cavan golfer earned a captain’s pick from Catriona Matthew for the Solheim Cup match between the United States and Europe at Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio next month.
Maguire’s brilliant form this season - which has seen her move into the top-50 in the world rankings and currently eighth on the LPGA Tour order of merit - has earned her a place on Team Europe for the match in September.
One of three rookies (along with Finland’s Matilda Castren and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen) selected by Matthew in finalising her team with six picks, Maguire’s selection will mean she will become the first Irish player to compete in the Solheim Cup.
Maguire said: “I’m really excited. (This) is something that I’ve looked forward to. I have played the Ping Junior Solheim Cup in 2009 and 2011, it was an incredible thing to be part of the junior side so to be on the big team is something really special and no Irish person has ever done it before.”
She added: “I think it’s going to be great for Irish golf and to show the young girls coming up that it’s possible to do things if you set your mind to it. Catriona is a legend in her own right, a winning Solheim Cup captain and a Major winner. For her to think I’m good enough to be on her team is quite humbling and quite an honour.”
Matthew’s six picks featured Maguire, Castren, Koerstz Madsen, Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, French player Celine Boutier and England’s Mel Reid.
The six picks will be joined by Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen and England’s Georgia Hall, who qualified on Solheim Cup points.
Plus, Sweden's Anna Nordqvist, Germanys Sophia Popov, England's Charley Hull and Spain's Carlota Ciganda - who secured their spots through the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings.
Automatic qualifiers: Emily Kristine Pedersen (Den), Georgia Hall (Eng), Anna Nordqvist (Swe), Sophia Popov (Ger), Charley Hull (Eng), Carlota Ciganda (Spa).
Wild cards: Leona Maguire (Ire), Mel Reid (Eng), Celine Boutier (Fra), Matilda Castren (Fin), Madelene Sagstrom (Swe), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den).
Automatic qualifiers: Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Ally Ewing, Austin Ernst, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Megan Khang, Lizette Salas, Jennifer Kupcho.
Wild cards: Brittany Altomare, Mina Harigae, Yealimi Noh.