LPGA: What's at Stake at This Week's Safeway Classic?

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2011

USA Solheim Cup team Captain Rosie Jones will have a complete team by Sunday afernoon.
USA Solheim Cup team Captain Rosie Jones will have a complete team by Sunday afernoon.

The LPGA is back after being 18 days off the grid. All the majors have taken place, but this week is especially important. The Safeway Classic has been part of the LPGA's schedule for 39 years and its tradition makes it the perfect tourney to decide the final spot of the 2011 US Solheim Cup Team.

The Safeway Classic gives Solheim Cup points to those who finish 1 to 20, with the winner earning 60 and the runner-up, 30.

Nine players have secured a spot in the squad, but the last one is still at stake. Christina Kim holds it for the moment, with 150.5 points; nonetheless, Katie Futcher, Vicky Hurst, and Kristy McPherson could knock her off.

Futcher, a Penn State graduate, turned pro in 2004; a year later she played at the LPGA Futures Tour, where she recorded two top-10 finishes. Later that year, she tied for fourth at the LPGA Q-School to earn exempt status. She's 11th in the Solheim Cup standings with 133.0 points, so if she finishes 10th or better and Kim doesn't make it to the top-20, she'll make it to this year's Solheim.

McPherson has already played in the Solheim Cup. In 2009 she became one of three rookies to made it to the US Team finishing with a 1-3-0 record. She's been three-time runner-up (Kraft Nabisco Championship, Wegmans LPGA, and CN Canadian Women's Open). She's currently 12th in the Solheim Cup standings (130.0), therefore, she needs to finish eighth at the Safeway Classic, and wait for Kim to finish outside the top-20.

Hurst is one of the most successful players of LPGA Futures Tour history. In 2008, she won five times, earning $93,107 (single season earnings record) while still in high-school. A year later she became a full-time member of the LPGA, where she hasn't had the same success. Her career best finish is a runner-up at the 2010 Hana Bank Championship. She's 13th in the Solheim Cup standings (112.5) so she needs to win the Safeway Classic, in order to make the team. 

After the top-10 is completed, captain Rosie ones will pick two players of her own choice. The golfer who have secured their spot are: Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Angela Stanford, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, and Juli Inkster (who will become the first playing assistant captain in the event's history).


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