Last event for U.S. players to qualify for Solheim Cup

By Randall MellJuly 30, 2013, 1:28 pm

There isn’t a lot of room for jockeying in this final week of Solheim Cup qualifying for the Americans.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon has pretty much narrowed the team to where 13 players are vying for 12 roster spots.

“It really looks like 13 players have separated themselves, but it’s still very tight right now,” Mallon told GolfChannel.com. “I couldn’t be happier. For the most part, they’re playing well. We have a great team coming together.”

Mallon heads to the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week knowing there are seven locks among the 10 players who will qualify to make the team on points or rankings, though nine spots seem all but solidified. So, that really leaves a musical chairs kind of week with four players jockeying for three spots. Whoever secures the ninth and 10th automatic roster spots at St. Andrews this week will shape who Mallon takes with her two captain’s picks.

The American and European teams will be announced after Sunday’s finish to the Women’s British Open with the Solheim Cup scheduled Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club.

The top eight in points automatically make the team, and six of those spots have already been clinched: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome and Lexi Thompson.

While Jessica Korda isn’t a mathematical lock at seventh in the point standings, it would take an extraordinary circumstance this week to bump her out. Even in the unlikely event Korda is bumped in points, she still likely qualifies off the rankings list. Brittany Lang is eighth in points and also likely to make the team through the rankings if she’s bumped out in the point race.

The top two Americans on the Rolex world rankings list who aren’t already qualified for the team on points also automatically make the team. Lizette Salas (No. 20) is a lock for one of those spots with Jennifer Johnson (No. 50) and Morgan Pressel (No. 51) waging a fierce Solheim Cup battle for the final roster spot off the rankings. Johnson is just three hundredths of a point ahead of Pressel in the rankings.

If the U.S. Solheim Cup were settled today, the roster would sport at least four players who have never played in the event: Thompson, Korda, Salas and Johnson.

Michelle Wie, despite an up-and-down summer, is very much in the mix to make the team, Mallon confirmed.

Here’s a look at the four players who appear to be vying for the last three roster spots, two of which will be captain’s picks:

Johnson: If the team were set today, Johnson would claim that last automatic roster spot off the world rankings list. She played her way into Solheim Cup consideration winning the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic earlier this year and then bolstered her standing tying for seventh at the Marathon Classic two weeks ago. She can bump her way into the top eight in points with a third-place or better finish at St. Andrews this week. She’s the only American left who can move into the top eight in points without winning the Women’s British Open.

Johnson, 21, has never played in the Solheim Cup before, though she helped the Americans win the 2010 Curtis Cup.

Pressel: Pressel must win the Women’s British Open to make the team on points. She is in position, however, to grab that final roster spot in the world rankings with a good finish at St. Andrews. That last rankings roster spot appears to be down to Johnson (No. 50), Pressel (No. 51) and Gerina Piller (No. 55).

Pressel, 25, was 4-0 in the last Solheim Cup. She has played on three American Solheim Cup teams and is a proven match-play force as a former U.S. Women’s Amateur champ. With her form returning, she appears a strong bet to make this team as a captain’s pick if she fails to qualify.

Piller: Piller, 28, is tied for 10th in points and must win the Women’s British Open to make the team on points. A strong finish at St. Andrews, however, could give her the last roster spot off the rankings list. Piller has never won an LPGA event, though she is becoming a regular on tour leaderboards. She also has never played in a Solheim Cup.

Wie: At No. 13 in points, Wie must win the Women’s British Open to make the team. She is the lowest player on the points list who mathematically still has a chance to automatically qualify on points. Wie, 23, has shown flashes of returning to form this year, with back-to-back top-10 finishes in June, including at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She has, however, been erratic. After those top-10s, she failed to make the cut in back-to-back weeks and has missed seven cuts this season. Wie is a two-time LPGA winner who played in the last two Solheim Cups, proving a force in her first.

Here is how the race shapes up:

USA

American Solheim Cup point standings (top eight qualify):

1. Stacy Lewis, 857

2. Paula Creamer, 526.5

3. Cristie Kerr, 484.5

4. Angela Stanford, 406.5

5. Brittany Lincicome, 269

6. Lexi Thompson, 261

7. Jessica Korda, 247.5

8. Brittany Lang, 241

9. Jennifer Johnson, 185

T-10. Lizette Salas, 174

T-10. Gerina Piller, 174

12. Morgan Pressel, 164.5

13. Michelle Wie, 160.5

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 majors.

American Solheim Cup world rankings standings (top two qualify)

1. Lizette Salas (No. 20)

2. Jennifer Johnson (No. 50).

3. Morgan Pressel (No. 51).

4. Gerina Piller (No. 55).

5. Mo Martin (No. 73).

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

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Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).


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Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

“You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

In context, Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

And out of context, the comment speaks to the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.


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“To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

What is beginning to sink in is that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from golf's greatest heights.

Who’s the best at their best?

In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took him a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it will be fatigue, maybe it will be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is simply too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are behind him. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good, to be overlooked any longer.

And he’s far from done.

“For me, I just need to keep winning,” the new world No. 1 said Sunday. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”

Watch: Koepka holes out from off the green at 16

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 5:36 am

Brooks Koepka faced a stiff challenge from Gary Woodland on Sunday in South Korea, but eventually it came time to end the suspense.

Having clung to a slim lead for much of the back nine, Koepka looked as though he was going to have to scramble just to save par when he missed the green at 16. 

Instead, caddie Ricky Elliott was able to leave Koepka's putter in the bag.

That holeout combined with a bogey from Woodland at 17 put Koepka ahead by three, allowing him to walk to victory and to the top of the world rankings.

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Koepka wins CJ Cup, ascends to world No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 5:07 am

Brooks Koepka eagled the 72nd hole Sunday to cap off a final-round 64, win the CJ Cup and supplant Dustin Johnson as the new No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here's how Koepka took over the golf world Sunday in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-21), Gary Woodland (-17), Ryan Palmer (-15), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-15), Jason Day (-12), Scott Piercy (-12)

What it means: This is Koepka's fifth career PGA Tour victory but only his second in a non-major, following his maiden win back at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Up four to start the day, Koepka saw his lead evaporate as Woodland rocketed up the leaderboard and kept pace with him for much of the back nine. But every time Sunday's result appeared in doubt, Koepka reclaimed his lead in dramatic fashion. He nearly aced the par-3 13th to go ahead by two and later holed out for birdie at the par-4 16th to go up three with two to play. He finished par-eagle at 17 and 18 to shoot a back-nine 29 and close out his third victory in the last five months. With the win, Koepka ascends to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

Round of the day: Ryan Palmer set a Nine Bridges course record when he birdied his final seven holes in a row en route to a bogey-free round of 10-under 62 and a solo third-place finish.

Best of the rest: Woodland played his first 16 holes in 9 under par to storm from five back and catch Koepka atop the leaderboard. But his furious Sunday charge finally came to an end when he failed to get up and down for par from the back bunker at 17. He carded his 11th birdie of the round at the 18th hole to sign for 63 and finish solo second.

Biggest disappointment: In retrospect, Woodland called it correctly on Saturday when he said: "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can. You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number." Woodland put as much pressure on Koepka as he could. He went out and posted that number. Koepka never blinked.

Shot of the day: Koepka's holeout at the par-3 16th, which put him ahead by three, unofficially ending the proceedings:

Quote of the day: "To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid. I don't think this one is going to sink in." - Koepka