Stats and Stuff - Solheim Cup Preview

In this week's Stats and Stuff, Ward Clayton breaks down the U.S. and European Solheim Cup Teams. He also wraps up the CN Canadian Women's Open.

Solheim Cup teams

A look at the United States and European Solheim Cup teams. The United States team was finalized last week. The European team was finalized on Monday for the Sept. 20-23 event at Killeen Castle, Ireland:

Team United States

  • Paula Creamer: Creamer, 25, is 3-0 in Singles competition at the Solheim Cup and has lost only twice in 14 matches. She was a rookie on the Solheim Cup Team in 2005 at age 19.

  • Vicky Hurst: The 21-year-old Solheim Cup rookie and captain’s pick earned Captain Rosie Jones’ attention with a final-round 67 in last week’s Safeway Classic to finish T5, her best finish since a second at the 2010 LPGA Hanna Bank Championship. Hurst is ninth in Driving Distance on the LPGA Tour (262.2-yard average).

  • Juli Inkster: At age 51 years and 13 weeks, Inkster is the oldest player, male or female, to represent the U.S. in team competition. Raymond Floyd was 51 years and 20 days when he played on the 1989 Ryder Cup team. Inkster finished T24 at last week’s Safeway Classic after missing her previous three cuts at the U.S. Women’s Open, Evian Masters and Ricoh Women’s British Open. Inkster will be the first playing assistant in Solheim Cup history.

  • Cristie Kerr: The 33-year-old Kerr, the leading points earner for the United States, is second in putting, scoring average and top-10 finishes in 2011. The five-time Solheim Cup participant has a 9-10-2 record.

  • Christina Kim: Even though Kim, 27, has struggled this year, with only two top-20 finishes, she has been an inspiration to the team in two previous Solheim Cup appearances, compiling a 5-2-1 record that includes a 2-0 Singles mark.

  • Brittany Lang: Much like her drive to qualify for the Solheim Cup in 2009, Lang, 26, surged late this season, with a runner-up finish at the Ricoh Women’s British and a sixth at the Safeway Classic. She is tied for 10th in Driving Distance (261.7).

  • Brittany Lincicome: Lincicome, who turns 26 the week of the Solheim Cup, has made all 15 cuts this season and won twice. Lincicome ranks fourth in Driving Distance (265.8).

  • Stacy Lewis: The Solheim Cup rookie won the first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco, and has eight top-10s in 15 starts in 2011. The Texan was second in Solheim Cup points.

  • Ryann O’Toole: The LPGA and Solheim Cup rookie has finished in the top 10 in two of her last four starts (ninth at U.S. Women’s Open and a career-best T5 at last week’s Safeway Classic). The 24-year-old Californian, a captain’s pick, ranks fifth on the LPGA in Driving Distance (265.5 average).

  • Morgan Pressel: Pressel, 23, will be making her third Solheim Cup appearance and is coming off a 2-0-1 record in the 2009 competition. Pressel is 2-0 in Singles play.

  • Angela Stanford: Stanford, 33, has two top-10s in majors this season and seven top-10s in 15 starts. She is making her fourth Solheim Cup appearance and holds a 3-4-3 record.

  • Michelle Wie: After being a captain’s pick in her rookie year, 2009, she made the team on points this year. As the youngest member of the 2009 team at age 19, Wie led the U.S. with a 3-0-1 record. Wie, now 21, is second in Driving Distance this season (267.2-yard average, trailing only Yani Tseng).


Team Europe

  • Christel Boeljon, Netherlands: Boeljon, 24, is the first player from the Netherlands to qualify for the Solheim Cup. She won her first Ladies European Tour title earlier this year and has recorded five other top-10 finishes.

  • Laura Davies, England: Davies, 47, has played in every Solheim Cup since its inception in 1990, the only player on either team this year who can claim that amount of experience. Davies earned her 12th Solheim Cup spot by winning five times on the Ladies European Tour in 2010.

  • Sandra Gal, Germany: Gal, 26, is making her first Solheim Cup start and is a captain’s pick. Gal won the KIA Classic on the LPGA Tour earlier this year and has two additional top-10s.

  • Sophie Gustafson, Sweden: Gustafson, 37, teamed with Anna Nordqvist to win the 2011 European Nations Cup. She previously led the Ladies European Tour ranking for the Solheim Cup on four occasions.

  • Caroline Hedwall, Sweden: Hedwell, 22, is the youngest European Team member and a Solheim Cup rookie. Hedwall, a captain’s pick, has charged through her first year, winning the Ladies European tour qualifying tournament last December, winning on the Australasian Tour earlier this year and twice on the Ladies European Tour.

  • Maria Hjorth, Sweden: Hjorth, 37, will be making a fifth consecutive Solheim Cup start. She won the 2010 LPGA Tour Championship and the Avnet LPGA Classic earlier this year. She is third in Driving Distance on the LPGA Tour (267.1).

  • Catriona Matthew, Scotland: Matthew, 42, has fared well in her homeland, winning the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open just 11 weeks after the birth of her second child, and capturing the Aberdeen Scottish Open last week by 10 strokes.

  • Azahara Muñoz, Spain: Munoz, 23, is a Solheim Cup rookie and was a captain’s selection this year. She was the 2010 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year and placed second to teammate Suzann Pettersen at the Ladies Irish Open, played at this year’s Solheim Cup site.

  • Anna Nordqvist, Sweden: The 24-year old has been a pro for only three years, but has won twice on the LPGA Tour, both in her rookie year, 2009. She has three top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour this year.

  • Suzann Pettersen, Norway: The 30-year old, ranked second in the Rolex World Rankings, has been hot lately, winning the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle, the Solheim Cup site, and the Safeway Classic in consecutive starts in August. She is making her sixth Solheim Cup appearance.

  • Melissa Reid, England: The 23-year-old Solheim Cup rookie led the European points list, was the Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2008 and has two career Ladies European Tour victories.

  • Karen Stupples, England: Stupples, 38, was a captain’s pick and is making her second Solheim Cup start. She has won three times professionally, including the 2004 Women’s British Open at Sunningdale in her native England.


Solheim Cup notes

Europe’s Laura Davies (11 appearances) and the United States’ Juli Inkster (eight appearances) are by far the most experienced participants on this year’s Solheim Cup teams. They have never met in Singles competition, but Davies holds a 6-1 advantage in team matches, including a 6-0 start before Inkster won with Paula Creamer against Davies and Maria Hjorth in 2005…The top five finishers at last week’s CN Canadian Open were all on the American Solheim Cup team – Brittany Lincicome, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford … The 20-somethings dominate the Solheim Cup. There are 15 20-year-olds among the 24 team members on both sides. There are also six 30-year-olds, two 40-year-olds (both on the European Team) and one players in the 50s (Juli Inkster, 51)…There are eight rookies altogether – five on the European Team (Boeljon, Gal, Hedwall, Munoz and Reid) and three for the Americans (Hurst, Lewis, O’Toole)… Sherri Steinhauer, who shares captain’s assistant duties for the United States team with Juli Inkster, announced her retirement from competition following last week’s CN Canadian Open. Steinhauer, a 26-year veteran, won eight times, including two major championship titles. Her first and last victories came 15 years apart.

Brittany Lincicome’s season and comebacks

Brittany Lincicome has been one of the most consistent players on the LPGA Tour this season. The 25-year-old Floridian has made the cut in all 15 of her starts on the LPGA Tour and has failed to place in the top 30 only three times. Including a win at the ShopRite Classic in early June, Lincicome has recorded 13 of 30 rounds in the 60s, with a 64 and two 66s. Last week’s victory at the CN Women’s Canadian Open was the first time she has won multiple times in a season and was the fifth victory of her career.

Additionally, Lincicome is tied with Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb for the most starts on the LPGA Tour this year, 53.
In her four medal-play victories, Lincicome has come from behind to win:

  • 2007 Ginn Open….Came from four behind to start final round to beat Lorena Ochoa by one.
  • 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship….Trailing by one on the 18th tee, made eagle to jump into the winner’s circle.
  • 2011 ShopRite Classic….Two behind entering final round, birdied final hole to win by one.
  • 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open….One back entering final round, got up and down for par on final hole to win by one.

Lincicome’s Canadian connection

It has still been 38 years since a Canadian won the CN Canadian Women’s Open. But 2011 winner Brittany Lincicome did have a Canadian flavor to her victory last week. Her caddie, A.J. Eathorne, is from British Columbia. Eathorne has 211 career starts on the LPGA Tour, including a career-best T3 at the 1999 Long Drugs Challenge.

Eathorne began caddying for Kris Blanks on the PGA Tour in 2010 and started working for Lincicome earlier this season at the Sybase Match Play Championship. The following week, she was on the bag for the ShopRite LPGA Classic victory.

“The more I talk and chattier that I am, the better that I play,” Lincicome said. “So Eatorne did a great job that if I was down a little bit to pick me back up and talk about something that I really enjoy, whether it be fishing or my dogs or my friends at home.”

Tiffany Joh’s best finish

Despite a double bogey-bogey-bogey finish for a 76 during rainy and windy conditions at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, Tiffany Joh recorded a career-best T12. The 24-year-old San Diego resident and four-time All-American at UCLA was tied for the third-round lead with Michelle Wie and Ai Miyazato after a career-low, third-round 65. It was Joh’s fourth consecutive made cut.

She finished T25 in the Wegmans LPGA Championship and T30 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open earlier this year. Joh has recorded four top-10 finishes and a victory on the LPGA Futures Tour this season.


Next events

The LPGA Tour goes South for its next two events – Sept. 9-11 for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G in Rogers, Ark., and the Sept. 15-18 Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala. These events precede the Solheim Cup in Ireland the next week.