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Suzann Pettersen aims to copy 'authentic' Catriona Matthew in Solheim Cup

European captain Suzann Pettersen looks on during practice prior to the the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Casares, Spain. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.
European captain Suzann Pettersen looks on during practice prior to the the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Casares, Spain. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

After back-to-back wins under Catriona Matthew’s captaincy, the Norwegian now has the chance to create history in the biennial event by leading Europe to a first hat-trick in the latest edition, which starts on Friday at Finca Cortesin in Spain.

“Yeah, like I told Beany, I don’t know why she didn’t go for a three-peat,” said Peterssen, smiling, in reply to being asked if there was added pressure on her after Matthew masterminded both a victory on Scottish soil then a successful trophy defence in Tulsa two years ago.

“It’s like pretty big shoes to fill for the one who is coming behind,” added the 43-year-old. “But we’re up for it. I think the players really want it. Yeah, it would be great for me to lead a winning team, but the best thing for me at the moment is that the players are really up for it. They want to maintain the streak. I don’t have to tell them that. That’s in their heart, which is great.”

After making nine playing appearances against the Americans, Matthew marvelled in the captain’s role before deciding that a double stint was enough and allowing Peterssen to get her opportunity as she now goes head-to-head with former AIG Women’s Open champion Stacy Lewis in both this match and also next year’s meeting in Virginia.

“Be yourself,” said Peterssen when asked what had been the best piece of advice offered to her by Matthew. “And I think that’s what she did the best. She was very authentic. She’s feisty in her own way. She was well-prepared as well. It’s like anything in life. If you go for an exam and you are not prepared, you are probably going to feel stressed out. You could feel the energy from her being prepared and being a bit more relaxed.”

It was one of the great moments in European golf when Pettersen, who’d been handed a captain’s pick by Matthew despite the fact she’d been lightly raced due to parenthood, kept her cool to clinch a dramatic victory in the deciding singles match on the 18th green on the PGA Centenary Course four years ago.

“I mean, everything just clicked for us towards the end there,” recalled Pettersen. “It’s funny how you play so much golf for three days and it literally comes down to the last two or three shots of the tournament. I was a bit lucky as 30 minutes before it ended the Americans were winning.

“For that to be on the 18th green with all the scenery and the crowd and the players from both teams there, if you could write a script, it would have been exactly like that."

Does she ever dream about making that eight-footer? “No,” she insisted. “I’ve questioned that as it still goes in right in the middle as you can see if you rewind it (laughing). It was just great, but I don’t think about it much as real life catches up with you quite quickly.”

Friday foursomes (US names first):

8:10am Lexi Thompson/Megan Khang v Linn Grant/Maja Stark

8:22am Danielle Kang/Andrea Lee v Celine Boutier/Georgia Hall

8:34am Nelly Korda/Allisen Corpuz v Leona Maguire/Anna Nordqvist

8:46 am Ally Ewing/Cheyenne Knight v Charley Hull/Emily Kristine Pederesen