Matilda Castren’s clutch LET win at home in Finland makes Solheim dream possible

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Matilda Castren went home to Finland on a mission: win to secure Ladies European Tour membership.

In June, the LPGA rookie became the first player from Finland to win on the LPGA at the Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced. But that wasn’t enough to make her eligible for LET membership, which is needed to be considered for captain Catriona Matthew’s team.

So Castren, 26, signed up for a return trip home to play in the Gant Ladies Open, hoping that victory would make her Solheim Cup dream possible. Castren is the only European player on the LPGA with a win this season.

On Saturday, in front a host of family and friends, the former Florida State standout birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to win by three at Aura Golf with a closing 68, finishing at 5 under for the tournament.

Compatriot Ursula Wikstrom and India’s Tvesa Malik finished tied for second at 2 under.

“I am so happy about this!” said Castren. “I could not be happier. It was what I came here for, and it is unbelievable that I pulled it off.”

Castren came into the event one of the hottest on tour having finished second at the Volunteers of America Classic after her win in San Francisco and tied for 15th last week at the Marathon LPGA Classic. She’s currently 58th in the world. Two European players will automatically qualify from LET points and four will come from the Rolex Rankings. Matthew will get six picks, two more than in 2019.

“It was my goal for this week to become a member of the LET by winning,” said Castren. “I could not be happier to make it happen and I’m just very thrilled. It has been my dream since I was little girl to be at the Solheim Cup. It is one of my goals that I knew might be possible in the future. Everything has happened really quickly this year and to be able to be considered is such an honor. Hopefully it will happen, and I will be able to represent Finland and Team Europe.”

Matthew weighed in on Twitter: “Huge congrats on winning Gant Ladies Open Matilda Castren with so much on the line … welcome to the LET.”

Castren had four chances to win an LET or LET co-sanctioned event to make herself eligible, and she got it done on the first try. She’ll next head to the Amundi Evian Championship in France followed by the Tokyo Olympics.

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