On Wednesday morning, Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker announced his picks to complete the U.S. Ryder Cup squad, which will face the Europeans at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin later this month.
In total, the Americans have six rookies on the squad who will look to play a crucial role in the resumption of the Euro Ryder Cup, which crushed the United States 17.5-10.5 at Golf National in Paris. in 2018.
The United States has a great chance of winning the Ryder Cup if the rookies have the same kind of weekend that Colorado’s Jennifer Kupcho had at the Solheim Cup last weekend.
Playing in his first national team event, Kupcho went 2-1-1 over the course of the three days. The Americans failed to earn the necessary 14.5 points, but Kupcho has established herself as an important part of the future of American teams. Europe came away with a 15-13 victory to hang on to the Solheim Cup for another two years.
“I feel like our team’s MVP is this one here,” teammate Lizette Salas told Golf Channel on Sunday. “She played amazing golf again today… She sure doesn’t play (like a rookie) and she sure doesn’t play like that.”
Salas also called Kupcho “freezing cold” which was evident as Kupcho excited the crowd at Toldeo’s Inverness Club when she drained a long birdie putt after a long birdie putt.
Salas and Kupcho won their fourball match on Saturday against Carlota Ciganda and Sophia Popov 1-up before securing a big victory in foursomes 3 and 1 (alternating stroke) against Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren.
The only hiccup Kupcho had in Sunday singles when she fell behind Irishman Leona Maguire early and never recovered. Kupcho and Maguire knew each other from ACC game while Kupcho attended Wake Forrest and Maguire played Duke.
Maguire went 4-0-1 on aggregate at the Solheim Cup with the only four-ball tie when she and Mel Reid tied Salas and Kupcho.
The singles match between Maguire and Kupcho was only part of what could become a Solheim Cup regularity over the next decade.
And it was a very crucial game, even before they made their way to the No.1 T-shirt.
“I didn’t see a path to victory (for the Americans) without Kupcho winning this game,” podcaster Chris Solomon said on the No Laying Up podcast Monday evening.
Maguire came out and birdieed four of the first seven holes, immediately putting Kupcho on his heels. Despite the loss, her game over the weekend established her as a mainstay of the USA team going forward.
Now she just needs to help the team achieve victory.
Winning is not a foreign feeling for Kupcho. She won two consecutive Class 3A State Championships while playing at Jefferson Academy. She won the 2018 NCAA Individual Championship in 2018 and then the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Her first professional victory came at home as she won the 2020 Colorado Women’s Open at the Green Valley Ranch.
Still a child in view of his professional career, his stock of golfers is only increasing and future Solheim Cup teams will certainly benefit from it in the years to come.