U.S. Solheim qualifying complete; captain's picks Monday

By Randall MellAugust 24, 2015, 3:02 am

It’s all about the captain’s picks now.

And most of the intrigue is whether U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster will make a slumping Paula Creamer one of her two picks Monday to fill out the American team that will meet Europe in Germany next month. The United States will head to St. Leon-Rot Golf Club looking to turn around its fortunes after losing the last two Solheim Cups.

The American team’s 10 qualifiers were finalized Sunday night at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open with no significant changes.

Gerina Piller held down the final spot on the American points list, and Alison Lee and Lizette Salas nailed down the two spots on the world rankings list.

Inkster will announce her two picks in a Golf Channel Solheim Cup show Monday at 7 p.m.

Inkster is faced with some tough choices with Creamer among four Solheim Cup veterans who didn’t qualify for the team. Brittany Lang, Jessica Korda and Christina Kim are also Solheim Cup veterans who didn’t meet the qualifying standard. They’re on the short list of candidates for captain’s picks along with Mo Martin and Austin Ernst.

Creamer, 29, is a five-time Solheim Cup player who boasts an impressive 12-6-5 record in the matches. Inkster and Creamer share a strong Solheim Cup bond. They were a formidable duo early in Creamer’s career. They were 3-2-1 as partners. Creamer, however, has struggled much of this season. She shot 81 Friday to miss the cut at Canadian Women’s Open, her third consecutive missed cut.

Korda, 22, made the cut at the Canadian Women’s Open, tying for 32nd, but she has battled elbow soreness this summer and had made just one cut in her previous six events heading to Canada. She played in her first Solheim Cup two years ago in Colorado.

Lang, 30, missed the cut in Canada but has had a solid summer. She’s 5-4-2 in three Solheim Cups.

Kim, 31, tied for 65th in Canada. She won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational late last year, her first title in nine years. She’s 6-2-2 in three Solheim Cups.

Martin, 32, hasn’t played in a Solheim Cup but won the Women’s British Open last year. She tied for 25th in Canada and tied for fifth in Portland last week. Martin has had a solid summer and appears to be recovered from the thumb injury that plagued her late last year and earlier this season.

Ernst, 23, also hasn’t played in a Solheim Cup. She won the Portland Classic for her first LPGA title last year and has had a consistent summer getting into contention for a Solheim spot.

Nine of the 10 American qualifiers this year played on the American team that lost in Colorado in 2013. Lee, an LPGA rookie, is the only new face among the American qualifiers.

Here are the Americans who secured automatic qualifier spots Sunday:


1 Stacy Lewis

2 Lexi Thompson

3 Cristie Kerr

4 Michelle Wie

5 Brittany Lincicome

6 Morgan Pressel

7 Angela Stanford

8 Gerina Piller


1 Alison Lee

2 Lizette Salas

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.