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With just KPMG Women’s PGA left, U.S. women’s Olympic squad shaping up

Nelly Korda

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The season’s third major championship, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, brings with it the added pressure of the Olympic standings being finalized upon the conclusion of play.

The week marks the final opportunity for Americans to jockey for one of the four spots on Team USA, which will head to Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games, beginning in July. Teams will be finalized based upon the Rolex Rankings, with as many as two players from their respective countries eligible to compete. A country can have up to four representatives provided those players are ranked in the top 15.

At No. 3 in the world, Nelly Korda leads the Americans in the Rolex Rankings. She’s joined by Danielle Kang, currently No. 6 and Lexi Thompson at No. 7. Jessica Korda sits just inside the critical cut off point at No. 13 in the world. But there are three players lurking just outside the top 15 in the Rolex Rankings, who, with a good week at the season’s third major championship, could make a move into Team USA.

A year ago, the possibility of making the U.S. Olympic team would have been a faint hope for Ally Ewing. At No. 61 in the Rolex Rankings, Ewing was the 11th-ranked American in the world and well outside the top 15 in world rankings. But one year later, Ewing is a different player. She became a first-time winner at the 2020 LPGA Drive On Championship at Reynolds Lake Oconee and she picked up her second win on the LPGA this year at the Bank of Hope Match Play.

Currently, Ewing sits at No. 18 in the rankings, and with a strong showing at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship she could move inside the top 15 and unseat Jessica Korda for the fourth and final spot on the U.S. team.

Jennifer Kupcho has continued to make a steady climb in the Rolex Rankings since joining the LPGA in 2019. One year ago, Kupcho sat at No. 55 in the world, but over the last 12 months she has improved her position to No. 24 to become the sixth-ranked American. She has given herself a fighting chance heading into the final event of the Olympic qualifying period and with a solid performance at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship could make the leap she needs to make the team.

Just 12 months ago, Austin Ernst sat at No. 71 in the Rolex Rankings. But with help from her third career win at the 2021 LPGA Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala, she’s climbed to her current position as the seventh-ranked American in the world. At No. 26 in the Rolex Rankings, she’ll need a significant finish at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in order to make the team, but she has given herself a chance heading into the final qualifying event.