U.S. captain Stacy Lewis filled out the rest of her Solheim Cup team on Monday without any surprises except for how they earned their spots on a team that will try to win back the trophy next month in Spain.
Lewis used her three captain’s picks on Ally Ewing, Angel Yin and Cheyenne Knight, the next three available Americans in the women’s world ranking. Ewing and Yin have played in two Solheim Cups and join an American team that has five rookies.
The matches are Sept. 22-24 at Finca Cortesin along the southern coast of Spain. Europe has won the last two times.
“I don’t know what the rankings would show on paper, but Europe has to be favored,” Lewis said. “We’re going overseas. That’s not to doubt my team. I think Europe is really strong. They have all the momentum. … We have a lot of new blood that hasn’t experienced the last two.”
Seven players automatically qualified through LPGA tournament results over the last two years, followed by the next two available from the world ranking and then three captain’s picks. The Canadian Women’s Open was the final qualifying event.
“There was movement in how people qualified,” Lewis said. “Nothing changed who was going to be there, just how they got there.”
Lexi Thompson had been holding down the seventh and final automatic spot, but then Andrea Lee tied for 13th in Canada to bump Thompson. That meant Thompson was the first available from the world ranking, followed by Rose Zhang.
If Thompson had made the team through points, Zhang and Yin were next in the world ranking.
The bigger concern is Thompson, the most experienced American in the Solheim Cup. She will be making her sixth appearance.
Thompson earned most of her points — LPGA and world ranking — last year when she had four runner-up finishes (one of them at a major). This year, the 28-year-old from Florida has played only nine counting events on the LPGA Tour and missed the cut in all but two of them. She didn’t finish in the top 30 in either of those two tournaments.
She also played two Saudi-backed events, a tie for third in the Saudi Ladies International in February and a tie for 21st in the Aramco Series event in Florida.
“I’m definitely concerned about her game, 100%,” Lewis said. “In talking to her, she’s handling all this remarkably well. You see her off the golf course, you’d never know she’s struggling like she is. She’s not going to quit, she’s not going to give up on the golf course.”
The three captain’s picks and Zhang, who were on a video call with Lewis, all nodded their heads as the captain spoke.
“She’s going to be working her butt off,” Lewis said.
The seven qualifiers include two-time major champion Lilia Vu, the No. 1 player in women’s golf; U.S. Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz; Nelly Korda; Khang; Jennifer Kupcho; Danielle Kang; and Lee.
Europe finalized its 12-player team that starts with major champion Celine Boutier of France. The other qualifiers were Maja Stark, Linn Grant and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden; Charley Hull and Georgia Hall of England; Leona Maguire of Ireland; and Carlota Ciganda of Spain.
Captain Suzann Pettersen used her four picks on Caroline Hedwall and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, Gemma Dryburgh of Scotland and Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark.
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