Americans look to rack up big Solheim Cup points


SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Solheim Cup points provide a subplot to this weekend’s conclusion to the U.S. Women’s Open.

With double points at stake, big moves are possible with time running out in the qualifying process. After this week, there will be just three LPGA qualifying events remaining before the American and European teams are named for the Aug. 16-18 matches at Colorado Golf Club.

On the American side, Michelle Wie put herself in a hard spot missing her second consecutive cut (OK, technically a WD with one hole to go). She’s 12th on the U.S. points list and must be among the top eight to automatically qualify for the team. Juli Inkster, Jennifer Johnson, Nicole Castrale, Vicky Hurst and Katie Futcher are all outside qualifying standards and also missed the cut.

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On the up side, American Lizette Salas continues to do more than solidify a spot on her first U.S. team. Salas looks like an emerging factor in helping Americans win majors. She enters this U.S. Women’s Open weekend in fourth place as the top American on the board. Earlier this year, she played her way into the final Sunday pairing with Inbee Park at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

While Salas is just ninth on the American Solheim Cup points list, she looks like a lock now to make the team off the U.S. Rolex world rankings list, even if she doesn’t qualify with points. She’s No. 1 on the world rankings list with the top two securing spots on the team. Still, if Salas bumps into the top eight in points this weekend, she could open a spot for another first-time American Solheim Cup player to make the team off the world rankings list.

The way qualifying works, the top eight in U.S. points qualify first. After that, the top two Americans in the world rankings who aren’t already qualified on points make the team.

Salas, Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel all made the cut and can significantly alter the points/rankings list with strong finishes.

As it stands now, Lang is No. 8 in U.S. points. However, if Salas were to bump her out of the top eight, Lang would go to No. 1 on the U.S. world rankings list with Pressel remaining No. 2.

Scenarios can be complicated, but here is how the current U.S. team qualifying race shapes up:

American Solheim Cup point standings (top eight qualify):

1. Stacy Lewis, 810.5

2. Cristie Kerr, 478.5

3. Paula Creamer, 442.5

4. Angela Stanford, 297

5. Brittany Lincicome, 230

6. Lexi Thompson, 205.5

7. Jessica Korda, 190

8. Brittany Lang, 181

9. Lizette Salas, 168

10. Morgan Pressel, 158.5

11. Jennifer Johnson, 153.5

12. Michelle Wie, 151.5

13. Gerina Piller, 150

14. Katie Futcher, 116.5

15. Nicole Castrale, 104

*The top 20 places in an LPGA event are awarded points with 60 points for first place, 30 for second, 28.5 for third and all the way down to three points for a 20th-place finish. Points are doubled in the majors.

American Solheim Cup world rankings standings (top two qualify)

1. Lizette Salas (No. 19)

2. Morgan Pressel (No. 55)

3. Jennifer Johnson (No. 56)

4. Gerina Piller (No. 59)

5. Nicole Castrale (No. 69)

*Two captain’s picks will fill out the American squad.