Solheim Cup team to be decided at Women's British Open this week

Morgan Pressel
Getty Images
Morgan Pressel needs a strong showing to improve her chances for the U.S. Solheim Cup team.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Inbee Park isn't the only player in need of a big week at St. Andrews. 

The Ricoh Women's British Open is the final qualifying event for the Solheim Cup, which will be played Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club outside of Denver. Even though the points count double at a major, this week might be more of a chance for a few Americans to make an impression on Captain Meg Mallon. 

The top eight players qualify from the points list, and they are virtually certain: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Brittany Lang. 

Lang has a 56-point lead over Jennifer Johnson, who would have to finish alone in second at St. Andrews to bump her. The only other players who could mathematically move into the top eight in the standings are Gerina Piller, Lizette Salas, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie. They all would have to win this week. 

Salas, however, already is set to make her first Solheim Cup team through the world ranking. After the top eight on points, the next two Americans available in the women's world ranking qualify. Salas leads that list at No. 20 and the next closest is Johnson at No. 50. 

So it's at the bottom where the final spot on the team could be up for grabs. 

Pressel is one spot behind Johnson in the world ranking, and could easily pass her with a good finish at St. Andrews to claim the 10th spot. Piller is at No. 55 and stands a reasonable chance to move ahead of Johnson. 

After that, Mallon gets two captain's picks. The Americans already have three rookies -- Johnson or Piller would make four -- so Mallon might be inclined to go for experience. That would bode well for Pressel and Wie. 

"If someone plays well this week, they could definitely get into the conversation," Lewis said. 

Mallon hasn't said much about how she is thinking, only that whoever doesn't get picked shouldn't seek sympathy because they had their chances to qualify. Mallon and her two assistants will be at St. Andrews all week -- Dottie Pepper as an ESPN analyst and Laura Diaz as a player. Diaz qualified for the British Open on Monday.