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Tampa Bay area golfers part of Solheim Cup

When the Solheim Cup, the equivalent of the Ryder Cup in women's professional golf, begins on Friday morning at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois, the U.S. team will have some local flavor — Seminole's Brittany Lincicome and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson. Lincicome finished ninth in Solheim Cup points with 250. McPherson was fourth with 321. The top 10 make the team, with two captain's picks.

Making the Solheim Cup team is nothing new to Lincicome. At 21, she was on the 2007 team that defeated Europe 16-12, though she was 0-2-1 in her matches. But what is satisfying to Lincicome is that she came back from a disappointing 2008 season, with only one top-10 finish, to make this year's team.

Outside of the top 10 in Solheim points when 2009 began, she won the year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and had a fifth-place finish at the U.S. Open.

"Last year was so frustrating,'' said Lincicome, who lives in Bardmoor with her parents, Tom and Angie. "I just wanted to get my game back in shape. It's good to know that I can compete again.''

McPherson, 28 and one of Lincicome's best friends on the LPGA Tour, has been consistent in 2009, finishing in the top 10 in three of the four majors. A South Carolina graduate who moved to Tampa last year, she is a Solheim Cup rookie.

"I moved down (to Tampa) to be close to some friends and play golf year round,'' McPherson said earlier in the year while playing with Lincicome at the Bayou Club in Largo. "I thought it would be a good move for me not only because it's a nice place to live but also because it would improve my game.''

There are four four-ball matches and four foursome matches Friday and Saturday with 12 singles matches Sunday.

The U.S. team leads 7-3 since 1990. Both Lincicome and McPherson are hoping to help add to the American's 5-0 streak on home courses. The players:

U.S. team

Beth Daniel, captain; Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins, assistant captains

Player; AgE; Solheim record; Comment

Nicole Castrale; 30; 2-2-0; Made the clinching putt in 2007. Has one LPGA win but is consistently in the top 10.

Paula Creamer; 23; 5-1-4; Since the 2007 matches, she has five LPGA wins and 22 top 10s.

Natalie Gulbis; 26; 4-3-0; Gulbis, playing in her third Solheim, has won only once on tour but has four top 20s this season.

Juli Inkster; 49 ; 14-8-5; A captain's pick, she is the oldest on either team and is making her eighth appearance.

Cristie Kerr; 31; 7-9-1; Her fifth straight Solheim appearance. She is sixth on the all-time LPGA money list and tops the money list this year with one victory and 10 top 10s.

Christina Kim; 25 ; 2-1-1; Made the team in 2005, but fell short in 2007. She has two LPGA wins, but none since 2004.

Brittany Lang ; 23; Rookie; On the tour since 2006, no wins, but enough success the past two years to vault to seventh on the points list.

Brittany Lincicome; 23 ; 0-2-1; Enjoyed a bounce-back season that included a major championship.

Kristy McPherson; 28 ; Rookie; No LPGA wins but four top 10s this season.

Morgan Pressel; 21 ; 1-2-1; Fourth year on the LPGA Tour and second Solheim.

Angela Stanford; 31; 2-2-2; Three wins since the 2007 Cup with eight finishes in the top seven.

Michelle Wie; 19; Rookie ; A captain's pick, no LPGA wins but five top 10s.

European team

Alison Nicholas, captain; Liselotte Neumann and Joanne Morley, assistant captains

Helen Alfredsson; 44; 10-12-2; The 2007 captain makes her eighth appearance.

Becky Brewerton; 26; 1-1-1; European tour member since 2004 has two wins, including the Spanish Open in July.

Laura Davies; 45; 21-16-4; Only one on either team to play every Solheim since its inception in 1990, she has 72 professional wins.

Tania Elosegui; 27; Rookie; Spaniard has a win and four top 10s this season on the European tour.

Sophie Gustafson; 35; 8-9-6; Seventh consecutive appearance. She has won 22 times on the LPGA and European tours.

Maria Hjorth; 35; 3-6-3; Her fourth Cup, she has won three times on the LPGA Tour.

Diana Luna; 26; Rookie; Won two straight tournaments on the European tour become first Italian to make the team.

Catriona Matthew; 39; 9-6-2; British Open win in July solidified her fifth appearance.

Janice Moody; 36; 6-1-1; Captain's pick has the best winning percentage of any player in the Cup.

Gwladys Nocera; 34; 2-3-1; Five wins on the European tour in 2008.

Anna Nordqvist; 22; Rookie; LPGA Championship win solidified her spot as a captain's pick.

Suzann Pettersen; 28; 8-3-5; Force on the LPGA since winning five times in 2007 is making her fifth consecutive Cup appearance.

Tampa Bay area golfers part of Solheim Cup 08/19/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:14pm]
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