As international players dream of representing their countries in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, LPGA Tour players have two more events to raise their Rolex Rankings and solidify spots among an impressive and diverse field. The Women’s Olympic Golf Rankings qualification period ends June 28, with the official tournament occurring August 4-7. This week, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give is another opportunity for players looking for a final push up the Rankings.
With her win at the MEDIHEAL Championship, Matilda Castren became the first Finnish player to earn a victory on the LPGA Tour. She moved 87 spots up the Rolex Rankings, cracking the top 100 for the first time in her career at No. 71. This puts her at No. 30 on the Olympic Golf Rankings, making her the top Finnish player of the 60-player field and solidifying her spot representing her native country in Japan. Ladies European Tour’s Sanna Nuutinen, ranked No. 238 in the world, is currently slotted as her teammate come August.
Castren’s past Florida State University teammate, Morgane Metraux, also made history on Sunday, becoming the first Swiss player to win on the Symetra Tour with her victory at the Island Resort Championship. Not only did the win qualify her for The Amundi Evian Championship, but she is now eligible to join countrywoman Albane Valenzuela in the Olympics. Metraux rose to No. 346 in the Rolex Rankings, making her No. 58 in the Olympic Golf Rankings.
A healthy rivalry is forming as two players are neck-and-neck as they work to earn their place to represent China at the Games. Major champion Shanshan Feng, who has already posted three top-four finishes this season through six events, is currently ranked No. 17 and has all but assured her return to the Olympics after a third-place finish in Rio. But Yu Liu and Xiyu Lin have gone back-and-forth this year, looking to join Feng with less than two weeks left in the qualification period. Lin joined Feng in 2016, finishing 38th. But, after a T26 finish in Daly City, Lin fell four spots in Rolex Rankings to No. 72, while Liu’s T13 result pushed her past Lin to No. 70. Heading into the Meijer LPGA Classic, Liu holds the coveted spot but is taking the week off before the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
“It's been a goal of mine since I was a little kid to be an Olympian representing my country. It would be a dream come true,” said Liu. “With the COVID situation it got postponed by almost a year now. It's just -- I mean, I went through a lot of things like over the last couple of months. I think I struggled a lot with my game and my mental aspect I think because of COVID. It really changes a lot of the stuff. But I feel like my game, it's on the -- it's getting back on the right track now. Just some little things here and there that I still need to polish up, and just most importantly, just put my mind in the right place. I think that will be the key for me next week.”
For more information on the Olympic Golf Rankings and an updated Women’s Reallocation Reserve List, click here: https://www.igfgolf.org/tokyo-2020-olympic-golf-rankings