England’s Melissa Reid believes that Europe has as good a chance as the United States when the teams compete for The Solheim Cup in Ireland from September 23-25.
America is the favourite with the bookmakers to retain The Cup and improve on their 8-3 score line, but Reid believes that Europe will be buoyed by a vociferous home gallery at Killeen Castle, in Co Meath, near Dublin.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Ladies Irish Open, hosted by Fáilte Ireland, which is taking place on the same golf course from Friday, she said: “On paper I would say that they are favourites but it all goes out the window during that week.
“I’ve played team events before, not to this extent, but as amateurs and we’ve been massively underdogs and you come out on top. You see it all the time in sport where teams that are supposed to thrash the other one tend not to. I think that don’t underestimate the way European golf is going because it’s very, very strong and there are a lot of great players coming up.
“There’s a lot of youth on the side and girls that have played Solheim Cup teams as well. I personally feel like I’m not afraid of the Americans. I don’t feel intimidated by them at all. I’ve played against all of them and I feel that I can beat them all and I think that’s the difference, that all of the Europeans feel that way. I think we’re going to give it our everything and hopefully bring the trophy home.”
Reid, 23, has five top-10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour this season and won the Deloitte Dutch Ladies Open in June. With just two qualifying events left to play, she is currently second on the European Cup standings, from which the top four will automatically qualify and the Derbyshire player is extremely excited about achieving her long-held Solheim Cup dream.
“Obviously growing up, watching The Solheim Cup, I’ve always wanted to be part of it. My first memory of it was when the girls played at Loch Lomond. Ever since then it’s been a dream of mine. Obviously it’s going to be a big privilege to represent my country and continent,” she said.
“I feel pretty good about it. I think that the whole team, if we can get together and get a bit of banter going, we can just become a really strong opposition.
“You’ve got to be confident. There’s no point going out there if you’re not going to be confident. We’ll give it everything and hopefully play some great golf out there and hopefully turn it on the Americans.”
At 40th on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Reid is the second highest ranked Briton in the Ladies Irish Open field behind Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, who is 35th, while Laura Davies is 70th.
Reid said: “I feel that my game is definitely going in the right direction. I feel that I need to let it happen because I’ve made a lot of changes this year, which me and my coach felt that we needed to make and they are progressing now quite well. I felt that I needed to let it happen, believe in it and let it happen a little bit.”
Davies currently leads The Solheim Cup rankings and is the only player who will have played in all 12 editions of the event since its inauguration in 1990.
Reid partnered Davies at the European Nations Cup in Spain in April when the pair tied for second. She believes that Davies’ experience would be a huge asset for the team.
“I get along well with Laura and feel very comfortable with her. You’ve also got players like Sophie (Gustafson), Maria Hjorth, Catriona Matthew: they’re all experienced Solheim Cup players and Suzann Pettersen as well. You’ve got players that know what it’s like and some of us rookies that are hopefully going to get ourselves into the team. I personally feel that we’re not really intimidated. We just want to go out there and play the best that we can.”