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Angela Stanford has been responsible for keeping U.S. Solheim Cup captain Pat Hurst’s little black book for the past seven months. Inside of it, the assistant captain kept information about any player that Hurst told her to track this season, including stats on their putting, how they finished in tournaments and results of the behavioral tests that were administered to prospective players.
On Sunday, the book came in handy at the AIG Women’s Open, where Hurst needed to determine her three captain’s picks.
A day later she officially announced those picks as Brittany Altomare, Mina Harigae and Yealimi Noh. They’ll join nine automatic qualifiers for the team who were determined upon conclusion of the Women’s Open. Captain Hurst also named Stacy Lewis as a third assistant captain, joining fellow assistants Stanford and Michelle Wie West.
“Angela had all the notes on what behavior fit with what and what didn't work,” Hurst said. “We went back to her black book quite a bit today and was kind of checking it out and making sure that we are doing the right thing.”
In an ordinary year, Altomare would have automatically qualified for the team at No. 8 in the U.S. Solheim Cup standings. However, due to the pandemic, only the top seven in the standings earned automatic spots, which gave Hurst an additional pick. Altomare returns to the U.S. team following her first appearance in 2019 at Gleneagles, where she went 2-1-1 in her debut. Altomare has three top-10s in 2021 and finished T-42 at the Women’s Open.
Harigae and Noh will both make their debut for the Americans when they join the team at Inverness. Harigae entered the final qualifying event at No. 10 in points. She is in the midst of a career-best season with four top-10s, and she closed out her major season with a T-13 at the Women’s Open, where she held a share of the 36-hole lead. Noh arrived at Carnoustie at No. 11 in the U.S. standings. The rookie has been a fixture in major championships this year and has finished inside the top 15 in each of her last five starts.
“If you look at how they have played the last month and a half, again, the writing was on the wall who was the hottest players coming into this event,” Hurst said. “In 2019, we had six rookies, so [this time] I didn't really have to worry about if we had enough experience or not, or if we needed more experience on the team, because everyone's pretty much played. So with that being said, it made it a lot easier to pick those two.”
Captain Hurst will lead a veteran squad in hopes of winning back the Cup at Inverness in two weeks. Nine players will return for the American side with just three rookies. It’s a far cry from the 2019 matches that featured six first-timers competing on European soil.
European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew also made her captain’s picks on Monday. Matthew named Leona Maguire, Madelene Sagstrom, Matilda Castren, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Mel Reid and Celine Boutier. They’ll join the six automatic qualifiers to the team who were named on Sunday.