Teams Rounding into Shape for Solheim Cup

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2007 Solheim CupThe United States will defend their title in the Solheim Cup, Sept. 14-16 in Halmstad, Sweden. But they will likely be doing so with a much different team than the one which captured the Cup in 2005.
 
The top 10 players on the U.S. points list following the conclusion of the Safeway Classic in three weeks will automatically qualify for the team. Captain Betsy King, a five-time team member, will then get two freewill selections to round out her squad.
 
Of those currently in the top 10, only five were on the victorious 05 team: U.S. Open champion Cristie Kerr; Paula Creamer; Juli Inkster; Pat Hurst; and Natalie Gulbis, who claimed her first career victory at the Evian Masters to lock up her second straight appearance.
 
Morgan Pressel, Stacy Prammanasudh, Brittany Lincicome, Sherri Steinhauer and Angela Stanford are hoping to join them in the title defense. Steinhauer and Stanford didnt compete in 05, but both have past Cup experience.
 
Some veteran Solheim Cup performers are on the outside looking in. Christina Kim, Laura Diaz, Wendy Ward and Michele Redman ' all currently in the top 20 in the standings ' need to make a late push over the final three events to qualify on their own merit.
 
Kim tied for sixth in France, but she still remains more than 100 points behind Stanford, who currently resides in the 10 spot ' and who also tied for sixth in the Evian Masters.
 
The European team, meanwhile, will likely be comprised of a lot of familiar faces.
 
The top five on their points list will automatically qualify, as will the top 4 on the world ranking list not otherwise qualified. Captain Helen Alfredsson, a seven-time team member, will have three picks to complete her team.
 
Laura Davies, Gwladys Nocera and Trish Johnson are good bets to again make the team based on the points list, while a host of would-be-first-timers are hoping to fill in the final two spots.
 
Annika Sorenstam, Suzann Pettersen, Sophie Gustafson and Catriona Matthew are also in great position to join the team.
 
The competition will begin Friday, Sept. 14. They will play morning and afternoon sessions, consisting of one foursomes (alternate shot) and one four-ball (better ball). They will do the same on Saturday, and then play 12 singles matches on Sunday.
 
The U.S. needs 14 points in order to retain the Cup. The Europeans need 14 points to win it back.
 
This years contest will be held at the Halmstad Golf Club in Sweden, giving the Europeans the home-course advantage.
 
And what an advantage it has been over the years.
 
The last five Solheim Cup competitions have been won by the home team. The U.S. won, 15 -12 , two years ago at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind. The Europeans proved victorious in 03 at Barseback Golf and Country Club in Malmo, Sweden.
 
Overall, the U.S. holds the lead, 6-3.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup