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Annie Park was quick out of the gate Thursday in a bid to make the U.S. Solheim Cup team, but she appears to have more on her mind at the CP Women’s Open.
With a 7-under 65, Park moved past Canadian favorite Brooke Henderson and four other players to take the first-round lead at Magna Golf Club outside Toronto.
Park has a chance to make the American Solheim Cup team off the world rankings with a finish of 20th or better Sunday, depending on what other Americans do. If she ends up winning her second career LPGA title, she’s a lock to make the U.S. team for the first time.
“Definitely a lot of pressure coming into this week,” Park said.
The Solheim Cup is scheduled Sept. 13-15 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
The top eight players in U.S. points after Sunday will make the team, as will the top two Americans in the Rolex Rankings who don’t qualify for the team via points. Angel Yin is No. 32 in the world rankings and currently holds that first spot. Austin Ernst is No. 41 and holds the second spot. Park is No. 42 and just .01 points behind Ernst.
Even if Park doesn’t qualify for the team, a strong performance keeps her in the running for one of Juli Inkster’s two captain’s picks.
“I’m pretty persistent of what I want, and if I want something I try really hard to get it,” Park said. “If I am not the pick, I know that her judgment is for the best, for the team.”
Park wasn’t alone among American Solheim Cup hopefuls making a good start.
Amy Olson (68), Angel Yin (69), Gerina Piller (69), Stacy Lewis (70), Ally McDonald (70), Brittany Altomare (71) and Morgan Pressel (71) made solid starts in red numbers among players looking to make moves this week, the final qualifying event before the U.S. team is finalized for next month’s Solheim Cup.
There’s one final roster spot up for grabs off the U.S. points list with seven players are clinching their spots: Lexi Thompson, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lizette Salas, Jessica Korda, Marina Alex and Megan Khang.
That’s five open spots – and still a whole lot that can happen over the next three days.
Altomare holds the eighth and final spot on the U.S. points list. Only four players can overtake her for that last spot, and three of them have to win to have a chance. McDonald can pass Altomare with a finish of 17th place or better, depending on what Altomare does. McDonald was tied for 30th after the first round.
Yin (69), Lewis (70) and Kerr (76) have to win to have a chance to supplant Altomare.