Brittany Altomare finished her final round in the AIG Women’s Open on Aug. 22, shooting a two-under par 70 to finish in a tie for 42nd place. She wasn’t in contention to win the major championship, but she felt plenty nervous for a different reason.
Altomare knew that after the round she’d learn her Solheim Cup fate.
Unfortunately for the former UVa women’s golfer, who competed for the program from 2009-13, her wait lasted even longer than initially expected. Team captain Pat Hurst had a meeting shortly following the conclusion of Altomare’s round, leaving the golfer to anxiously wait in a lunchroom for her conversation with Hurst and assistant captain Angela Stanford.
“I was like, ‘Really, I have to sit there and wait for however long? Why can’t we just get this over with?’” Altomare laughed.
In the end, the wait was worth it.
“They sat me down and told me that I was a pick, and I was so excited,” Altomare said.
Altomare finished just shy of automatically qualifying for the team event, which takes place every other year and puts 12 of the best U.S. women’s golfers against 12 of the best European women’s golfers. Hurst and Stanford decided to make Altomare one of the team’s three captain’s picks for the 2021 event.
Altomare comes into the weekend with Solheim Cup experience, having represented the U.S. in the 2019 match-play event, which Europe won by a point in Scotland. Altomare went 2-1-1 that week.
“Brittany proved that she’s the ultimate team player in 2019 and really came through for us at Gleneagles,” Hurst told LPGA.com.
This year’s event starts Saturday, and it will be held at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
“It’s just such an honor to represent your country, and I’ve had that experience in Scotland and now I get to do it on home soil, which I can only imagine is like 100 times better, so I’m really excited,” Altomare said.
The three-day competition features four foursome (alternate shot) matches and four fourball (better ball) matches on both Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, every player for each side competes in a singles match.
Each match victory gives a team a point, with a total of 28 points available. Half points are awarded for tied matches. For Team Europe, 14 points or more retains the Solheim Cup. For Altomare and the U.S. side, they need at least 14.5 points to end this week victorious.
As for the state of her game heading into the pressure-packed team competition, Altomare feels confident. She’s finished in the top 20 of four LPGA Tour events since the beginning of June, including two top-10 finishes.
Playing on a team also provides a jolt of energy often missing on typical weeks. After Altomare’s collegiate golf days at UVa, team events are few and far between at the professional level. Typically, individual scores and performances determine a player’s success. That’s not quite the case this week, which is a welcomed change from the weekly grind on tour.
“I love having teammates, and I love having people support you and be there for you,” Altomare said. “It makes a sport that’s pretty lonely a lot more fun.”
The 2019 Solheim Cup offered Altomare experience in the intense match-play competition. She’s ready to apply those lessons in the coming days, hoping to cherish the experience while also wanting to end the competition with a win.
“I think we’re all going in wanting to bring the cup back, especially on home soil,” Altomare said. “Last time, in 2019, it was so close to the end. It literally came down to the past putt, which is pretty amazing, but I’m hoping that this time we come out on top.”