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US announce final Solheim Cup team

Pat Bradley went with experience today, choosing Beth Daniel and Brandie Burton as her captain's picks for the U.S. Solheim Cup team that will face Europe in two weeks in Scotland.

"First-time players earn their spots,'' Bradley said. "We had three rookies earn their spot, and there's something to be said for that."

That didn't bode well for Christie Kerr and two-time U.S. Amateur champion Kelli Kuehne, 11th and 12th in the two-year standings going into the Safeway LPGA Championship in Portland, Ore., the final tournament to earn points.

Kuehne had an 80 in the first round and missed the cut. Kerr had a 77, but fought back and finished in a tie for 13rd. She came up one stroke short of bumping Becky Iverson out of the 10th spot.

The Solheim Cup, which began in 1990 and is the women's version of the Ryder Cup, will be played Oct. 6-8 at Loch Lomond.

The Americans won 16-12 in 1998 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Europe's only victory came in 1992 in Scotland, an 11 1/2-6 1/2 victory at the Dalmahoy in Edinburgh.

"We have a great mix of veterans and newcomers to the team,'' Bradley said. "This is our Olympics. This is my dream team.''

Daniel, who will be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame in November, was 13th in the standings, and brings the experience of four Solheim Cup matches. She tried to earn her way onto the team, but opened with a 77 in Portland and tied for 13rd.

Bradley called her in her hotel room, and "I was fully expecting Pat to say, 'I'm sorry, I can't pick you.' "

"I couldn't believe it,'' said Daniel, who has a 7-3-1 record in the Solheim Cup and has never lost in singles.

Bradley left out Hall of Famer Betsy King, who was 14th in the standings and has played in every Solheim Cup. She had a 74 on today and also tied for 13rd in Portland.

"I felt that Beth's ball-striking would be exceptional for this golf course,'' Bradley said. "Plus, with her experience and her leadership for these young players, it wasn't that difficult at the end.''

Burton didn't exactly impress Bradley with her play this week. She was paired with the captain in the first round and had an 80 in windy conditions, then missed the cut by a stroke. Bradley took her anyway, going with a winner of two major championships and a tough match player in the last four Solheim Cups.

Burton missed all of last year with a shoulder injury.

"It definitely was my No. 1 goal after having all of '99 off,'' said Burton, who has a 7-4-1 record and has played every Solheim Cup since she turned pro. "It's a special treat to be on this team.''

With King being left off the team, Dottie Pepper will be the only American who has compete in all six Solheim Cup matches. Pepper, who has suffered back problems this summer, returned this week and tied for seventh.

The 10 Americans who earned their way onto the team were Juli Inkster, Meg Mallon, Pepper, Rosie Jones, Sherri Steinhauer, Pat Hurst, Kelly Robbins, Michele Redman, Nancy Scranton, and Iverson.

The last three will be making their Solheim Cup debut. Redman played her way onto the team by winning theFirst Union Betsy King Classic two weeks ago.

The European team, announced three weeks ago, includes seven Swedes and four rookies.


 

 

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