Published August 21, 2011
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. – Christina Kim earned the 10th and final automatic spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup team Sunday and captain Rosie Jones added youngsters Vicky Hurst and Ryann O'Toole to the squad that will face Europe in Ireland late next month.
Going into this weekend's LPGA Safeway Classic, Kim was just ahead of Hurst, Katie Futcher and Kristy McPherson in the points race. On Sunday, Kim shot a dismal 78 to finish 11 over, but it was enough for the trip to Killeen Castle on Sept. 23-25.
The slumping Kim — 58th on the money list and without a top-10 finish this year — went to Twitter to proclaim: "Going to Ireland, baby! Woot woot!!! Cannot wait for the 2011 Solheim Cup!!!"
Nine of the 12 players were on the squad that beat the Europeans two years ago.
Inkster, at 51, is the oldest member of the team and will serve as the first playing assistant captain.
Jones said practices would start next week.
The European team will be finalized after the world rankings are updated Aug. 29. Safeway winner Suzann Pettersen, Melissa Reid, Laura Davies and Christel Boeljon have already locked up spots. Alison Nicholas will serve as Europe's captain.
Pettersen locked her spot with a victory in the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle this month.
On Sunday at Pumpkin Ridge, she beat Na Yeon Choi in a playoff after overcoming a nine-stroke deficit with a 7-under 64.
O'Toole, 18th in the final standings, has only played in seven tour events. She shot a 70 on Sunday to finish three strokes off the leaders at 3 under.
"I'm ready to kick Europe's butt," she said when the team announcement was made by Jones on Sunday night.
Even Jones called the selection a "very wild pick."
"Rosie took a chance on me and that means more than I can explain," O'Toole said. "It means just as much as winning a tournament. To have someone go against what people might think and go out on a limb with a rookie. She can see what I'm made of. She said she can see my moxie."
Vicky Hurst was 11th in the standings, 12.5 points out of 10th.
"This has always been a dream for me," she said. "I wasn't standing over putts thinking about making the team this week, but it was definitely on my mind."
The Solheim Cup is contested every two years, alternating with the men's Ryder Cup. The United States defended home turf in 2009 when the competition was held at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Americans started earning Solheim Cup points at the conclusion of the Safeway Classic in 2009. Points for the 2013 team will start being tallied following the Canadian Women's Open next week.