September 3, 2021 - by
FSU Alums Castren And Stupples In Solhiem Cup

TOLEDO, Ohio (seminoles.com) – It took former Florida State All-American Matilda Castren all of five tournaments to earn her first collegiate victory. She carded a 10 under par 206 to capture medalist honors at the Florida State Match Up. Castren gained her second win as a Seminole just three events later in winning the individual title at the Marsh Landing Intercollegiate.

Castren won a school-record seven individual titles during her career at Florida State (2014-17) before earning her tour card and beginning her professional career on the Symetra Tour. She earned her first win on the Symetra Tour in 2020.

Then came the summer of 2021.

Castren captured her first LPGA win, the Mediheal Championship, in just her 15th tour start. In winning in San Francisco, she became the first player from Finland to win an LPGA event. Shortly after her first LPGA victory, she traveled home to Finland in search of a victory on the Ladies European Tour. A victory there would make her eligible for LET membership – something she needed for consideration to play on Europe’s Solheim Cup team. On the final day of her first LET event, she birdied Nos. 16 and 17, finished with a 5 under par score and earned the championship she so desperately needed. She was then chosen to represent Finland in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Following an 18th place finish in Tokyo, she was rewarded with a phone call that made her ultimate dream come true.

FSU Alums Castren And Stupples In Solhiem Cup

The phone call came from team captain, Catriona Matthews, inviting her to become a member of the European Solheim Cup Team.

“It means the world to me to be playing in the Solheim Cup,” said Castren as she traveled to the United States for the competition at Toledo’s famed Inverness Club. “It’s something I have dreamed of since I was a little girl. Playing in the Solheim Cup is something I have always put as one of the highest goals in my career.”

Play in the 17th edition of the Solheim Cup begins Satuday (Sept. 4) and continues through Monday (Sept. 6). The format for the championship is two days of doubles match play using foursomes and fourballs, followed by a final day of singles match play. It is a three-day competition between teams of women professional golfers representing the United States and Europe.

The first Solheim Cup was played in 1990. The European side is the defending champion having defeated the U.S. by a 14.5 – 13.5 score in 2019 in Gleneagles, Scotland. The United States holds a 10-6 lead in the series, which has become the most highly coveted championship in women’s professional golf team competition.

Castren follows in the footsteps of FSU Hall of Famers Jane Geddes (1996, United States) and Karen Stupples (2005, 2011, Europe) as the third Seminole to play in the Solheim Cup.

Stupples will serve as a vice captain for the European team.

Playing as a member of the European team in the Solheim Cup is a position Castren is very thankful to be in at this stage of her career.

“Golf, and sports in general, has a lot of ups and downs,” said Castren who graduated from Florida State in 2017 with a degree in International Affairs. “A couple of years ago, I was having the worst two years of my career. I decided to work through it, and with a lot of help from my team, I got my LPGA card. It’s been uphill from there.”

Of the many people who believed Castren had a bright future as a professional golfer, despite her dark period as a young professional, was Seminole Head Coach Amy Bond.

“I thought Matilda would be special when we recruited her,” said Bond. “I thought she could help us change our program.”

Castren relied on Bond during her All-American career as a Seminole and later when she was growing as a professional. It was over lunch in Tallahassee in the spring of 2019 that Bond urged her talented former player to keep climbing; that success was just over the next peak.

Castren, 26, persevered through the difficulties of the COVID-19 season in 2020 and is enjoying the best year of her career in 2021.

“It feels amazing to accomplish the things you work for,” said Castren. “My success gives me hope that if you work hard and dream big anything is possible. I couldn’t be more honored to represent Finland and Europe in the Solheim Cup.”

COMPETITION SCHEDULE
Saturday, Sept. 4

Foursomes – 7:35-8:11 a.m.
Fourball – 12:35-1:20 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 5
Foursomes – 7:15-7:51 a.m.
Fourball – 12:05-12:50 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 6
Singles – 12:05-1:55 p.m.

TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Sept. 4 – 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Golf Channel; 12:30-2:30 p.m., NBC; 2:30-6 p.m., Golf Channel
Sept. 5 – 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., Golf Channel; 12-1:30 p.m., NBC; 1:30-5:30, Golf Channel
Sept. 6 – 12-6 p.m., Golf Channel

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