Solheim Cup: Europe’s Leona Maguire braced for “physical and mental test” against US in Spain

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Leona Maguire playing a shot during Solheim Cup practice
Ireland’s Maguire was unbeaten as she helped Europe beat the US onher opening Solheim Cup contest in Ohio in 2021
Date: 22-24 September Venue: Finca Cortesin, Spain
Coverage: Daily live text and radio commentary, plus television highlights on BBC2 on Friday and Sunday and BBC4 on Saturday at 19:00 BST

Leona Maguire says it will be as much a “physical test as a mental test” as Europe look to claim a record third consecutive victory in the Solheim Cup.

The 18th match between Europe and the United States begins on Friday at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia, Spain.

Temperatures are also set to hit 29C on the hilly course which is known for its demanding set-up.

“Managing energy, I think, is going to be big,” said Ireland’s Maguire, who starred as a debutant two years ago.

“It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be just as much of a physical test this week as a mental test.

“We have a lot of practice, a lot of media, a lot of things this week, a lot of dinners, so managing energy throughout the week is going to be key to make sure we still have plenty in the tank for Sunday.”

Maguire, 28, remained unbeaten at the Inverness Club in Ohio in 2021, as she collected four and a half points from her five matches – a record for a rookie – to set the tone for a thrilling European success.

The world number 17 is also intent on enjoying her debut on home soil and is hopeful that the crowd can spur Suzann Pettersen’s side on to secure a third straight triumph for the first time.

“It almost feels a little bit like a rookie again playing on home soil,” she added.

“This is all still a new experience for me, so just try and enjoy the week as much as I can and feed off the energy of the crowd as much as I can.

“There were quite a lot of Irish people heading over on my flight, even on Sunday, and then today there was quite a few tricolors out there, a few people dressed up already today, which is pretty impressive for a Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, the US team’s preparations have been hindered after Danielle Kang’s club’s failed to arrive in Spain – although her putter is here because she travels separately with it, “in a rifle case”.

However, the 30-year-old, who is one of the most experienced players on Stacy Lewis’ side, has played down the problem as she readies herself for her fourth appearance in golf’s biggest female team competition.

She said: “The entire US team has been helping me. Everyone’s on top of it. They have been tracking my bag to Vegas to Amsterdam and my sponsor is making up a second set.

“That’s flying in temporarily tonight, and then another manufacturer has made me a temporary set that I got to play with, so we can at least test out the golf course.

“It is what it is. You just kind of roll with the punches. It’s life, it’s golf, you know, it’s OK.”

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