Saturday, July 27, 2013

Team Euro Solheim Cup Watch: Ladies European Masters Saturday

Caroline Masson followed up yesterday's opening 63 in the Ladies European Masters with a 69 today to get to -12 heading into tomorrow's final round.  That opened the door to several golfers--including Cindy LaCrosse (65, -8), Nontaya Srisawang (66, -7), and Karrie Webb and Christina Kim (67, -9)--but for the purposes of the selection of Team Euro for the Solheim Cup, probably the most important round of the day was Charley Hull's 66 that brought her to -10.

When Hull had finished T40 in the Open de Espana, it looked like her dark horse chances for the last captain's pick were dealt a huge blow, particularly when fellow dark horse Melissa Reid finished T12.  But Hull stayed 4th on the LET Order of Merit to Reid's 29th and today the tables turned when Reid shot a 76 to miss the cut.  Hull still has to outplay Sandra Gal, who fired her 2nd-straight 68 today, on Sunday and outdo Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Gal at the Women's British Open to get a captain's pick, but a win tomorrow would advance her cause quite a bit, to say the least.  It would even give her an outside chance of finishing in the top 4 via the LET's points system if she could outplay Carlota Ciganda and Catriona Matthew and Caroline Masson by a large margin next week and finish high on the leaderboard at the WBO.

Meanwhile, a 70 by Gwladys Nocera left her 6 shots behind Masson heading into the final round.  As I wrote earlier this week, I still believe both players are locks to make the team, but it's looking more and more likely that Masson will make it on points and Nocera as a captain's pick.  Masson would get 40 points with a win, 24 for a runner-up finish, and 18 for a bronze.  Right now, there are 7 players double digits under par and 17 golfers within 5 shots of Masson's lead (although that could change in the next half-hour as the last golfers on the course finish their rounds).  So it's too soon to count any chickens for Masson.  But things are looking very good for her.  Nocera needs to move from T17, where she sits now, into the top 10 tomorrow just to get any points.

In other news, Order of Merit leader Lee-Ann Pace poured it on with a 31 on the back 9 today to fight back to E and give herself a chance to make the cut (which sits at -1 right now).  Cheyenne Woods followed up yesterday's 67 with a solid 71 that left her in T17, 6 shots behind the current lead.

[Update 1 (11:55 am):  It's also worth noting that Ashleigh Simon's caught Masson at -12; just 2 weeks ago, I was wondering what had happened to her.  Now she has a great chance for her 2nd-straight great finish on the LET!]

[Update 2 (12:10 pm):  OK, so Klara Spilkova joined Masson and Simon at -12 and it looks like Pace and the others at E will squeak into the final round!]


5yearvolunteer said...

The Euro team always faces the chance of having a weaker player because of the Order of Merit. Nocera has been that a few times. Nice person but she's ranked 150+ in the world. Hull is the real deal and would be worth a pick. Same with Shadoff and all 3 Spaniards. They've earned their points and status in majors and on the LPGA and all seem to have worthy games at this point. Neumann has a much harder job than Mallon who just has to take her top 12 and resist the media push to put Wie on the team. What a potentially crushing mistake that would be! One can never know because it's golf and hard to predict but the poor girl can't even be counted on to make regular event cuts week to week. It wouldn't be fair to her or the team to set up a scenario where she fails. The media could not care less of course.

The Constructivist said...

Nocera was 3-0-1 in 2009 and although her LPGA attempt has been abandoned, I think she's got an inside track to make the team one way or another. I can see a situation where Guilia Sergas gets the short end of the stick--if, say, Neumann wants Hull, Ewart Shadoff, Hedwall, and Nocera as captain's picks....