Salas eyes big, early move for Solheim Cup

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They haven’t started with the “USA” chants just yet in Des Moines, Iowa, but it won’t be long with record ticket sales going strong there.

Lizette Salas can almost hear it.

She’s among Americans looking to mount a push to make the U.S. team for the biennial team match against Europe on Aug. 18-20.

Salas shot a 3-under-par 70 Friday, leaving her tied for second at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. She’s just one off the lead in a bid to win her second LPGA title. 

“The past two years, I’ve been kind of hoping to get better as the year went on,” said Salas, who made the last two American teams. “This year, I really wanted to get a good start, knowing it is a Solheim Cup year. Every tournament does count, and I literally took no time off during the off season. So, I’m just really happy where my game is right now.”

Salas sits 23rd on the U.S. Solheim Cup points list. The top eight at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 6) qualify for the team. With a victory Sunday, Salas could vault as high as 12th on the points list.

The top two players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who aren’t already qualified for the American team after the Ricoh Women’s British Open will also make the team. Two captain’s picks will be made by U.S. captain Juli Inkster at that time.

If the U.S. team was set today, Solheim Cup veterans Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Christina Kim and Ryann O’Toole would join Salas as players needing to be captain’s picks to make the team. Wie is 24th in points, Creamer is 18th, Pressel is 21st, Kim is 16th and O’Toole is 14th.

If the team was set today, Mo Martin and Alison Lee would qualify off the world rankings.

Here’s the U.S. points list:

1. Lexi Thompson, 381.
2. Stacy Lewis, 305.5.
3. Gerina Piller, 286.
4. Brittany Lang, 211
5. Jessica Korda, 173
6. Angela Stanford, 148
7. Brittany Lincicome, 147
8. Cristie Kerr, 145
9. Mo Martin, 145
10. Austin Ernst, 135.5
11. Alison Lee, 124
12. Danielle Kang, 99
13. Jennifer Song, 95
14. Ryann O’Toole, 90
15. Kim Kaufman, 88

*Points are awarded to top-20 finishers in LPGA events, with first place earning 60 points, second place getting 30, third place taking 28.5 and on down to three points for 20th place. Points are doubled in the major championships.