Andrea Lee. Steve Dykes
Despite the automatic qualifying period ending for the US Solheim Cup team following the CPKC Women’s Canadian Open, one spot still needs to be settled. The Americans had major champions Lilia Vu and Allisen Corpuz alongside Nelly Korda and Megan Khang with their roster spots locked up before a shot was hit at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver this week.
Five Solheim qualifying spots were up for grabs heading into the Canadian Open, three from its points list and two from the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Jennifer Kupcho, Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee qualified on points, while Lexi Thompson held the first of two Rolex Ranking positions. The other was too close to call.
The Solheim Cup is scheduled for September 22-24 at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia, Spain, in just under four weeks.
— Solheim Cup Team USA 🇺🇸 (@SolheimCupUSA) August 26, 2023
Lee’s closing two-under 70 was the most impactful round of the day in Vancouver. Lee started Sunday at even par and tied for 18th, knowing she needed to finish T-13 or better to overtake Thompson and bump the Solheim veteran out of the points list. Lee ended her round sitting at two under and T-11, having to wait out the day before finishing on the dot at T-13.
“I just tried to stay really patient out there and put a solid round together today,” Lee said. “So I’m really satisfied with the way I played.”
The US Solheim Cup team fills from the points list first; then it picks two players from the Rolex Rankings. Thompson (21) is the top American in the world ranking who did not qualify off the points list and will take the first spot.
The second position, however, is a toss-up. Rose Zhang (31) and Angel Yin (32) entered the Canadian Open in a virtual tie at 2.94 points, and both finished T-41. Ally Ewing (34) sat at 2.91 points and finished T-22, which could be enough to surpass Zhang and Yin with how close the cup veteran was at the start of the week.
The World No. 1, again, will play for the United States at the Solheim. But instead of Korda, who held the spot in 2021, Vu has the honour, as she won two majors in a single season for the first time on the LPGA since Jin Young Ko in 2019 and the first American to do so since Juli Inkster in 1999. Corpuz, who won the US Women’s Open for her maiden LPGA title, rounds out the major-champion rookies, leading the youth movement headed to Spain.
The major-winning tandem is two of a possible four first-timers to make it through qualifying alongside Lee and Zhang. The experience difference between Europe and the US is evident. Those Americans qualifying on points have only eight Solheim Cups among them, only one more than Europe’s Anna Nordqvist has had by herself.
Thompson brings the most Solheim experience to the roster, playing on every US team dating to 2013 with a 6-7-1 career record. She’s playing in the next two LPGA tournaments searching for form, after missing her seventh cut in nine starts of 2023 at the Canadian Open. Kang has the second most experience on the team with three previous appearances, then Khang and Korda with two apiece, followed by Kupcho with one start in 2021.
Lewis will announce her three captain’s picks later today to round out her 12-player squad.