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Solheim Cup Preview - Can Team USA Make it Three Wins in a Row?

The LPGA takes a break from its normal tournament schedule for the playing of the 2019 Solheim Cup.

Image result for 2019 solheim cup

History:
The Solheim Cup is a biennial golf tournament for professional women golfers contested by players from the United States and Europe. It is named after the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer Karsten Solheim, who was a driving force behind its creation.

The inaugural cup was held in 1990, and the event was staged in even numbered years until 2002, alternating years with the Ryder Cup (the equivalent men's event between the USA & Europe). Because of the attacks of September 11th 2001, forcing the postponement of the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup was switched to odd numbered years in 2003.

Qualifying for Entry:  (USA)
1- A player must finish in the top 8 on the Solheim Cup points list.
2- The top 2 players in the Rolex Rankings that have not already qualified.
3- Two captain's picks.

Points are accumulated the following way:
(From the first event after the previous Solheim Cup match in 2017 through the end of the 2018 season)
Winner - 40 points, 2nd - 20 points, 3rd - 18 points, 4th - 17 points, all the way down to 20th - 2 points.
(The 2019 season tournaments leading up to the Solheim match)
Winner - 60 points, 2nd - 30 points, 3rd - 28.5 points, 4th - 27 points, 5th - 25.5 points, all the way down to a 20th place finish worth 3 points.
The reason for the increased points for the last part of the term is to give an advantage to the players who are hot going into the match. 
Points are doubled for major championships.

Qualifying for Entry:  (Europe)
1- A player must finish in the top 4 on the LET  Solheim points list.
2- The top 4 players from the Rolex Rankings that have not already qualified.
3- Four captain's picks.

The event is played over three days. Since 2002, they play 28 matches - eight foursomes, eight four balls, and twelve singles matches.

Of the previous 15 matches, the USA has won ten and Europe has won five. Team USA will be trying to defend the title they won in 2017 when they won the match quite easily by a score of 16 1/2 to 11 1/2. Team USA will need a total of 14 points to successfully defend their title, while Team Europe will need 14 1/2.


Image result for 2017 solheim cup
Team USA celebrates their 2017 victory.

Returning as captain this year for Team USA will be Juli Inkster. Catriona Matthew will be the captain for Team Europe.

Here are the Key Details:
Course:  The Gleneagles Hotel, PGA Centenary Course
Location:  Perthshire, Scotland
Defending Champion:  Team USA
Winning Score:  16 1/2 to 11 1/2

Final Field:  24 players
Par: 73
Yardage:  6,894
Purse:  This one is for pride!

Here are the teams:  (Solheim records in parenthesis)

Team USA:
Lexi Thompson (5-2-4 = 62.4% winning %)
Nelly Korda  (rookie)
Danielle Kang (3-1-0 = 75%)
Lizette Salas (4-4-2 = 50%)
Jessica Korda (1-2-1 = 37.50%)
Megan Kang (rookie)
Marina Alex (rookie)
Brittany Altomare (rookie)
Angel Yin (1-1-1 = 50%)
Annie Park (rookie)
Ally McDonald (rookie)
Morgan Pressel (10-7-2 = 57.58%)
Total   24-17-6 = 57.45%

Team Europe:
Carlota Ciganda (5-4-2 = 54.55%)
Anne van Dam (rookie)
Caroline Hedwall (8-4-1 = 65.38%)
Charley Hull (7-3-1 = 68.18%)
Georgia Hall (2-3-0 = 40%)
Azahara Munoz (4-6-1 = 40.91%)
Caroline Masson (3-6-2 = 36.36%)
Anna Nordqvist (11-7-2 = 60.0%)
Celine Boutier (rookie)
Jodi Ewart Shadoff (3-4-0 = 42.86%)
Bronte Law (rookie)
Suzann Pettersen (16-11-6 = 57.58%)
Total    59-48-15 = 54.51%


My Prediction:
Predicting this event is never easy. I predicted the score right on the nose in 2015, and missed by one point in 2017. Team Europe appears to have a stronger team than they did in 2017. The additions of players such as Bronte Law and Celine Boutier surely make them stronger. They are also the more experienced team as their players have played in 122 previous Solheim Cup matches, while Team USA has played in just 63. They will also have the home field advantage.

 This is a very different looking Team USA as it will be sporting six Solheim Cup rookies. Gone are longtime Solheim Cup stars: Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Stacy Lewis, Cristie Kerr, and Brittany Lincicome. That said, Team USA still has more star players. They have five players currently ranked in the top twenty of the Rolex Rankings (Thompson #3, N.Korda #10, Danielle Kang #15, Lizette Salas #17, J. Korda #18), while Team Europe has just one (Carlota Ciganda #13). 

This one will be close (not like the blowout of 2017). It won't be decided to the very end, but Team USA will pull it out by a score of 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

Here are the Television Times:
September 13 - GC - 3:00 AM-1:30 PM ET
September 14 - GC - 3:00 AM-1:30 PM ET
September 15 - GC - 6:30 AM-1:00PM ET


This Week's Trivia Question: (for those who missed it earlier)

Where was the first Solheim Cup held?


Day three results:
SINGLES MATCHES:
D. Kang lost to Carlota Ciganda - 1up
N. Korda defeated Caroline Hedwall - 1up
Thompson lost to Hall - 2/1
A. Park lost to Celine Boutier - 2/1
Yin defeated Munoz - 2/1
Khang and Hull - tied
Salas defeated Van Dam - 1up
J. Korda defeated Masson - 3/2
Altomare defeated Shadoff - 5/4
Alex lost to Pettersen - 1up
McDonald lost to Law - 1up
Pressel lost to Nordqvist - 4/3

Final result: Team Europe defeated Team USA 14 1/2 to 13 1/2

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates. They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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