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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Z. Johnson looks to end victory drought at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 10:45 pm

Nearly three years after his most recent victory, Zach Johnson has a chance to get back into the winner's circle at the Valero Texas Open.

Johnson started the third round at TPC San Antonio with a share of the lead, and he maintained that position after closing out a 4-under 68 with a birdie on the final hole. At 13 under, he is tied for the lead with Andrew Landry and one shot clear of Trey Mullinax as he looks to win for the first time since The Open in 2015.

"Different wind today. Misjudged some numbers, misjudged some wind, made some bad swings, all of the above," Johnson told reporters. "But truthfully, I mean my short game was actually pretty good, my putting was great. I missed some putts but I hit some really good ones, hit some lines and I gave myself opportunities, especially on the back side."

Johnson started slowly, making the turn in even-par 36, before carding four birdies on the inward half. It was a microcosm of his week at TPC San Antonio, where Johnson is even through three trips across the front nine but has played the back nine in 13 under while picking up more than six strokes on the field in strokes gained: putting.

Johnson won this event in both 2008 and 2009 when it was held at nearby La Cantera, but he has only cracked the top 10 once since it shifted venues in 2010. But facing off in the final group against two players who have yet to win on the PGA Tour, the veteran hopes to capitalize on his back-nine prowess this week in order to deliver career win No. 13.

"I've got to do exactly what I did on the back side, and that was give myself opportunities on every hole," Johnson said. "I'm putting great, I'm seeing the lines well, my caddie's reading the greens well. So it's just a matter of committing and executing down the stretch."

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Mullinax fires course-record 62 at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 9:01 pm

Trey Mullinax surged into contention during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, shooting a 10-under 62 that set a new course record on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

Mullinax started the day seven shots off the pace, but his sizzling round left him alone in third place through 54 holes, one shot off the lead. The former Alabama standout caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 7-under 29 despite a bogey after chip-ins for eagle on No. 14 and birdie on No. 16 to go along with an eagle on the home hole.

"It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had," Mullinax told reporters. "To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good."

Mullinax appeared headed for a missed cut after a 74 in the opening round, but he bounced back with a second-round 68 to earn a weekend tee time and his third-round score broke the previous course record of 63 held by multiple players.


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


The 25-year-old finished 137th in FedExCup points last season, leaving him with only conditional status this season. His lone top-10 finish of the year came at the Valspar Championship, where he survived a Monday qualifier and went on to tie for eighth, and this marks only his third start since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

"Obviously I would like to play a little more, but the tournaments I get in, I'm really excited about playing golf," Mullinax said. "I've loved every start I've gotten, and I'm very thankful to be in the position I'm in."

Mullinax holed a putt to clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide in 2014, and he finished T-9 at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills. But success has been fleeting among the professional ranks, meaning Sunday's opportunity to notch a career-best finish or breakthrough victory is nothing short of enticing.

"I'm sure you'll be nervous," Mullinax said. "To have a chance to win or just go play good golf is what I came here for, so that's what I'm going to do."

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Quiros maintains one-shot lead through 54 in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

RABAT, Morocco - A birdie on the last hole gave Alvaro Quiros a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Trophee Hassan II.

Quiros' birdie on No. 18 allowed the Spanish golfer to sign for an even-par 72 on Saturday to stay at 7-under par overall and clear of four players in second place.

South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, France's Alexander Levy, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen were just a shot behind at 6 under heading into the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

Quiros is a seven-time winner on the European Tour, but went six years without a victory until last year with his triumph at the Rocco Forte Open in Italy.


Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


He's seeking a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco after sharing the first-round lead with Bradley Dredge before taking it outright on Day 2.

Quiros had an on-off day in the third round - he said it was ''suddenly great shot, suddenly not so good'' - and carded four birdies and four bogeys to come out even and still hold on to his lead.

Van Rooyen shot 71, Bezuidenhout 68, Levy a 69, and Ilonen the best round of the week so far with his 6-under 66.

Ilonen had seven birdies and just a single bogey - on his first hole - to leap 23 places up the leaderboard and into contention for a first tour title since 2014 when he won the World Match Play Championship.

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.