How Solheim Cup’s winning player Castren almost never made the cut



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How Solheim Cup’s winning player Castren almost never made the cut

Matilda Castren may have sunk the winning putt to secure the Solheim Cup for Team Europe, but her addition to the team was never assured. Just this past June, Castren became the first Finnish player to win an LPGA title, her maiden trophy at the LPGA Mediheal Championship in June.

However, this success wasn't enough for her to guarantee a spot onto the European team for the Solheim event since she wasn’t a member of the Ladies European Tour. With the win achieved, she was a clear easy choice for the ladies’ European squad, but rules are rules, putting the 26-year-old in a bind if she wanted to participate in the team event.

As she did throughout the Solheim Cup, the Fin rose to the challenge and threw herself into the European season full throttle over the rest of the summer.

It was a great experience and the gamble fully paid off, with Castren gaining her second golf title, this time on the LET, with a five-under par win at the Gant Ladies Open in July. It was a fearless approach from Castren, which was critical to help her secure a spot onto the LET team, as Team Europe’s first Finnish competitor.

Alongside the only other LPGA winner on the European team, Castren teamed up with Anna Nordqvist, winning their four-ball matchup’s at the outset of the tournament, first Team USA’s Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst and later in the day, Lexi Thompson and Mina Harigae.

Although the American pairing of Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho—who were sensational throughout the competition—got the better of them in the end on Sunday, Matilda Castren saved her best for last on singles day Monday, hitting a thriller on the 18th that got Team Europe to the necessary 14 points needed to win.

“It's hard to put it into words right now.

I think I'm still shaking,” said an emotional Castren afterwards, via LPGA.com. “I just knew I was looking at the board and I knew it was going to be an important putt, and I wanted to make it. Me and [caddie] Mikey [Patterson] read it and we read it perfectly and it went in.

I'm just so happy right now, and I'm not sure what the final scores are, but I'm just… Yeah, a lot of emotions right now”.

To think that previously she was almost left off from the team if it hadn’t been for her gutsy journey to represent Team Europe over the summer. As we saw during the competition, Matilda Castren is certainly one gutsy golfer.