Solheim Team Practices Under Watchful Eye of Lopez


2005 Solheim CupU.S. Solheim Cup team captain Nancy Lopez saw what she needed during two days of practice for players hoping to make the team.
Thirteen of the top 15 players practiced Monday at Crooked Stick golf course, where the Solheim Cup will be played Sept. 9-11. The top 10 automatically qualify for the team, and Lopez gets two captain's picks.
'They're all playing well. They're bonding as a team,' Lopez said on the final day of practice. 'This team has the best spirit of any team I've seen.'
The Solheim Cup is the LPGA's version of the men's Ryder Cup, pitting the top players from the United States against those from Europe. The European team won the last Solheim Cup by a score of 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 in Sweden in 2003, the largest margin of victory in Solheim Cup history.
'I truly believe this will be the team that gets the Solheim Cup back,' Lopez said, breaking into tears at the news conference.
Meg Mallon has experience on the course, which was the site of the 1993 U.S. Women's Open.
'It's a great match play venue,' Mallon said.
The course, with its open fairways and deep bunkers, has 'a lot of risk-reward,' she said.
Mallon is second in the Solheim Cup point standings behind leader Cristie Kerr. Juli Inkster and Natalie Gulbis did not participate in the practice rounds.
The U.S. lineup will be announced Aug. 28 following the Wendy's Championship in Dublin, Ohio.
The top seven Ladies European Tour players make the European team, and captain Catrin Nilsmark will have five captain's choices. Annika Sorenstam leads in points.
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