Teenager Hannah Darling will be the sole Scot representing Team Europe at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup, after she was chosen as a wildcard for the all-female event.
The young golfer, who at the age of 16 is currently ranked 116 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was invited to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House on Monday (19 August) ahead of the competition, which takes place on 10 & 11 September at Gleneagles’ King’s Course.
Hannah’s place on the team comes after a four-year campaign she headed via a WhatsApp group named #Project19, made up of six aspiring young female golfers aiming for a coveted spot in the competition.
With six Scottish titles to date, Darling is recognised as one of Scotland’s most talented young golfers – one who has realistic ambitions of becoming “the best female golfer in the world.”
Aged 13, the Edinburgh golfer – who plays at Broomieknowe Golf Club in Bonnyrigg, claimed her first national title and became the youngest-ever winner of the Scottish Girls’ Amateur Championship. Last year she won the inaugural R&A Girls’ U16 Open Championship and successfully defended the Scottish Girls’ Amateur Championship she won in 2017.
In December 2018 she was picked for the Great Britain & Ireland women’s squad for the first time at the age of just 15.
She was supported in her attempts to qualify for the PING Junior Solheim Cup by both Scottish Golf and the Scottish Government through the Solheim Cup Golf Development Programme, which facilitated a support fund to allow aspiring Scottish golfers to play in qualifying events throughout Europe.
Speaking after the announcement, Hannah said: “This is pretty much all I’ve been working towards for the past three or four years – I can’t really put into words what it means to me. The experience I will gain from it will be invaluable, coming so early in my career.
“This is the pinnacle of women’s golf. It is the biggest tournament, being played by the top players and the fact it is being played here, at Gleneagles, just makes it even more special. I have had incredible support over the past few years and learned so much from our experience at the Solheim Cup in 2017.
“Now, to be a part of this competition, which will be the biggest single sporting event in Scotland this year, is a dream come true. I have had so much support to reach this stage, from my parents and family, from my coach, Ian Muir and my club, from the Scottish Government and Scottish Golf and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me. Now I am looking forward to competing next month.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says, “There has been an increasing level of interest in women’s sport recently and more and more girls are seeing what is possible to achieve. To have a Scottish player in the European PING Junior Solheim Cup can encourage other girls to take up golf.
“Hannah has done exceptionally well to make the team and I look forward to her doing Scotland proud in the competition.”
Entry to the PING Junior Solheim Cup is free. For more information visit www.solheimcup2019.com