Scotland’s Catriona Matthew told her European Team “this is your moment” as a lavish opening ceremony launched the 16th Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among the speakers with a welcome to both teams and a promise that 100,000 spectators are expected over the next three days as the premier event in women’s golf comes to Perthshire.
Matthew (50) captains Europe after playing in nine previous Solheim Cups. This is the third event to be staged in Scotland, with Europe winning both previous visits at Dalmahoy in 1992 and Loch Lomond in 2000.
At the opening ceremony the former Women’s British Open champion from North Berwick paid tribute to the work of Gleneagles staff both at the hotel and the golf courses in providing the prefect venue for the matches.
“Both sides want to get off to a good start,”she said. “Being the home side I think to get off to a good start would really get the crowd into it.
“So, I think for us, we’re really going to go out there and try and get the crowd in and get some blue on the board.”
Europe will start the first session of foursomes with rookie Bronte Law and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda taking on the US team’s most experienced player Morgan Pressel and another debutant, Marina Alex.
Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier follow against US No 1 player Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altamore, while the experienced duo of Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff take on the Korda sisters Jessica and Nelly, the first sisters ever to play as a pairing in the Solheim Cup.
The anchor match sees Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz take on the USA’s rookie pairing Megan Khang and Annie Park.