Lopez Team Shaping Up Nicely

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In four months, the United States will once again try and win a team title in golf. And it will be up to Nancy Lopez to lead the American troops against Catrin Nilsmarks European team in the 9th Solheim Cup.
 
Europe owns the Cup thanks to a dominating 17 -10 effort in Malmo, Sweden in 2003.
 
This go-around will take place at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., Sept. 9-11. And Lopez says that she is pleased with the way her team is beginning to take shape.
 
I think my team is doing great. They are playing very well, she said Wednesday while serving as host of this weeks Chick-fil-A Charity Championship. A lot of American players are now finishing in the top 10. We were struggling a little bit last year with that.
 
Lopez team, at the moment, is a nice combination of youth and experience (Current Standings). Cristie Kerr, who won last weeks Michelob Ultra Open, is the leading points earner for the U.S. She is followed by Meg Mallon, Rosie Jones and Juli Inkster, all of whom are in their early- to mid-40s and have at least five Solheim Cup appearances on their resume.
 
Jones has a herniated disc in her back. If she is unable to compete then she will serve as an assistant captain to Lopez.
 
Laura Diaz, Christina Kim, Michele Redman, Dorothy Delasin, Wendy Ward and Stacy Prammanasudh round out the current top 10. Diaz (2 teams), Redman (3) and Ward (2) all have Cup experience. Kim, Delasin and Prammanasudh would be rookies.
 
Pat Hurst (3 teams) and Beth Daniel (7) are 11th and 12th, respectively, in the standings.
 
The top 10 players on the points list two weeks prior to the Solheim Cup will automatically qualify for the biennial event. Lopez will then select the final two members to round out her team of 12.
 
And she may have a little help in the form of her husband, former baseball manager Ray Knight.
 
Hes watching these players, Lopez said of her husband. Just going through these players, and telling me what they are doing and what their scoring averages are, and its very interesting to see what he finds out.
 
I think because he was in baseball, he is into all of the stats stuff more than I would be as a golfer.
 
He told me last night its going to be tough when you have to pick 11 and 12, she added. He is watching Beth Daniel and Pat Hurst. Players are moving up ' and the ones that are moving out, so he is watching all of that for me.
 
Lopez can only hope that her team keeps its current form come September. Ward won four weeks ago, Prammanasudh two weeks ago, and Kerr last week.
 
I try to call the players and congratulate them when they play well, Lopez said. Hopefully, I call them, boost them on ' great playing, keep going. Its fun to do that. I feel like I have a connection with the players, you know, by calling them and talking to them and letting them know how I care how they are doing.
 
The U.S. leads the series 5-3.
 
Related Links:
  • Solheim Cup Standings
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup