On Wednesday morning, Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker announced his picks to fill out the USA Ryder Cup team, which will compete against the Europeans at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin later this month.
In all, the Americans have six rookies on the squad who will try to play a crucial role in winning the Ryder Cup back from the Euros, who stomped the United States 17.5-10.5 at Le Golf National in Paris back in 2018.
The United States stands a great chance at winning the Ryder Cup if the rookies have the same kind of weekend that Colorado’s Jennifer Kupcho had at the Solheim Cup this past weekend.
Playing in her first national team event, Kupcho went 2-1-1 over the course of three days. The Americans failed to win the 14.5 points needed, but Kupcho established herself as a big piece of the future of USA teams. Europe came away with a 15-13 win to hang on to the Solheim Cup for another two years.
“I feel like the MVP of our team is this one right here,” teammate Lizette Salas told the Golf Channel on Sunday. “She played amazing golf again today… She definitely doesn’t play (like a rookie) and she definitely doesn’t have the game like one.”
Salas also referred to Kupcho as “ice cold” which was apparent as Kupcho got the crowds at Inverness Club in Toldeo worked up when she drained long birdie putt after long birdie putt.
Salas and Kupcho won their four-ball match on Saturday against Carlota Ciganda and Sophia Popov 1-up before getting a big 3 and 1 foursomes (alternate shot) win over Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren.
The one hiccup Kupcho had came in Sunday singles when she fell behind to Ireland’s Leona Maguire early and never recovered. Kupcho and Maguire knew each other from ACC play as Kupcho attended Wake Forrest and Maguire played at Duke.
Maguire went 4-0-1 overall at the Solheim Cup with the lone tie coming in four-ball when she and Mel Reid tied Salas and Kupcho.
The singles match between Maguire and Kupcho was just part one of what could become a Solheim Cup regularity over the next decade.
And it was a very crucial match, even before they made their way to the No. 1 tee box.
“I did not see a path to victory (for the Americans) without Kupcho winning that match,” podcaster Chris Solomon said on the No Laying Up podcast on Monday night.
Maguire came out and birdied four of the first seven holes, immediately putting Kupcho on her heels. Despite the loss, her play over the weekend established her as a pillar of the US team in the future.
Now she just needs to help the team get the win.
Winning is no foreign feeling for Kupcho. She captured back-to-back 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 win came on home turf as she won the 2020 Colorado Women’s Open at Green Valley Ranch.
Still a kid in terms of her professional career, her golf stock is only going up and future Solheim Cup teams will certainly benefit in the coming years.