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Race for U.S. Women's Olympic spots heating up

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How many Americans will make the U.S. Olympic women’s golf team?

Just last summer, the Americans looked like a lock to send four players to Rio de Janeiro for the games this summer. Now, there’s a growing possibility they may only send two.

Americans Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson are nearly locks at No. 3 and 4, respectively, in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

In Monday’s release of the newest Rolex rankings, Cristie Kerr is No. 14 and Brittany Lincicome is No. 16. Only two players per country qualify for the Olympics, unless a country has more than two players among the top 15 in the Rolex rankings. The top four players from a country that are among the top 15 in the world can qualify. If the Olympics were staged today, the Americans would send three players to the games with Kerr qualifying as the third.

Here are the top Americans trying to make the team before qualifying ends on July 11. Their Rolex rankings are in parenthesis: Lewis (3), Thompson (4), Kerr (14), Lincicome (16), Alison Lee (20), Morgan Pressel (24), Jessica Korda (25), Gerina Piller (28), Michelle Wie (33), Lizettle Salas (42), Austin Ernst (43), Brittany Lang (45), Angela Stanford (51), Paula Creamer (55), Mo Martin (56).

Taiwan also has a tight battle in Olympic qualifying with former world No. 1 Yani Tseng and Candie Kung competing for the second spot to represent that country. Teresa Lu holds Taiwan’s top spot at No. 19 in the Rolex rankings. Tseng is No. 40 in the Rolex Rankings and Kung is No. 44.

The Olympic Women’s Rankings (see below) are based on the Rolex rankings. The top 60 in the Olympic Women’s Rankings qualify for the games. If a player isn’t among the top two from her country in the Rolex rankings, she won’t appear on the Olympic Women’s Rankings, unless she’s among the top 15 in the Rolex rankings and also among the top four from her country.

While there was movement within the Olympic Women’s top 60 this past week, there were no new names moving into the mix.

Click here for full list of the 60 women currently in line to qualify for Rio.