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Solheim Cup teams decided at St. Andrews
Question of the Day
ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (AP) - Inbee Park isn’t the only player in need of a big week at St. Andrews.
The Women’s British Open is the final qualifying event for the Solheim Cup, which will be played Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club outside of Denver. Even though the points count double at a major, this week might be more of a chance for a few Americans to make an impression on Captain Meg Mallon.
The top eight players qualify from the points list, and they virtually are a lock _ Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Brittany Lang.
Lang has a 56-point lead over Jennifer Johnson, who would have to finish alone in second at St. Andrews to bump her. The only other players who could mathematically move into the top eight in the standings are Gerina Piller, Lizette Salas, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie. They all would have to win this week.
Salas, however, already is set to make her first Solheim Cup team through the world ranking. After the top eight on points, the next two Americans available in the women’s world ranking qualify. Salas leads that list at No. 20 and the next closest is Johnson at No. 50.
So it’s at the bottom where the final spot on the team could be up for grabs.
Pressel is one spot behind Johnson in the world ranking, and could easily pass her with a good finish at St. Andrews to claim the 10th spot. Piller is at No. 55 and stands a reasonable chance to move ahead of Johnson.
After that, Mallon gets two captain’s picks. The Americans already have three rookies _ Johnson or Piller would make four _ so Mallon might be inclined to go for experience. That would bode well for Pressel and Wie.
“If someone plays well this week, they could definitely get into the conversation,” Lewis said.
Mallon hasn’t said much about how she is thinking, only that whoever doesn’t get picked shouldn’t seek sympathy because they had their chances to qualify. Mallon and her two assistants will be at St. Andrews all week _ Dottie Pepper as an ESPN analyst and Laura Diaz as a player. Diaz qualified for the British Open on Monday.
PGA FIELD: Despite closing with a 73 in the Canadian Open, David Hearn earned just enough money to move up one spot on the PGA Championship points list to be first alternate. That might be all it takes to get into the field next week at Oak Hill.
The PGA Championship’s field is holding open two spots in case the winners of the Reno-Tahoe Open and Bridgestone Invitational are not already exempt. It’s not unusual for the Reno-Tahoe winner to head straight for the final major. The Bridgestone Invitational, however, has never produced a winner that wasn’t already in the PGA Championship (perhaps because Tiger Woods seems to win every year).
Only three players at Firestone are not exempt for the PGA _ Satoshi Kodaira, Toru Taniguchi and Daniel Popovic.
The PGA of America gives exemptions to those in the top 100, and as expected, it went beyond that to award spots to Peter Uihlein (No. 108) and Brooks Koepka (No. 115), the two Americans who started the year with no status and earned European Tour cards.
By Orrin G. Hatch
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