Catriona Matthew’s glowing praise for Hannah Darling after Junior Solheim Cup selection

Hannah Darling has been hailed as a “star” by Catriona Matthew as she will join her on the Solheim Cup stage at Gleneagles next month.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 6:30 am

In the same week that Matthew will lead Europe into battle against the Americans, Darling will be playing in the junior equivalent at the Perthshire venue. The 16-year-old from Broomieknowe secured one of captain Mickey Walker’s wildcards for the event, which takes place on September 10-11.

Her selection was a huge boost for Scottish golf and Matthew joined in the chorus of congratulations. “What a star,” said the North Berwick woman in a post to Darling on social media, having met up with her earlier this year in East Lothian to pass on some advice.

Matthew also told the Edinburgh Evening News: “It’s great to see a Scot playing in the event. I predicted earlier this year when I saw her play at North Berwick that she had a great future and that talent is certainly starting to show.

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“She has been playing very steadily and stepped up the last few weeks with some good results and scores and is thoroughly deserving of her place.”

Darling has had ambitions of playing in the Junior Solheim Cup since she was 12 years of age. In 2015, when it was announced that Scotland was bidding to host the tournament, she and five other young female golfers embarked on what became known as ‘Project 19.’

The group initially set up a WhatsApp group to help motivate each other, help each other improve their amateur ranking, with the aim of earning their places and competing at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.

It’s mission accomplished for Darling and she’s now looking forward to joining forces with the cream of the crop in European girls’ golf to take on their US counterparts.

“This is pretty much all I’ve been working towards for the past three or four years,” said Darling, who met up with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon following her selection. “The experience I will gain from it will be invaluable, coming so early in my career.

Darling has been supported by both Scottish Golf and the Scottish Government through the Solheim Cup Golf Development Programme, providing her with funding to play in qualifying events throughout Europe.

“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,” she said.

“I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me. Now I am looking forward to competing next month.”

■ Entry to the PING Junior Solheim Cup is free. For more information visit www.solheimcup2019.com