Pat Hurst hasn’t played on the LPGA Tour in nearly six years, but the six-time winner has been a regular at many tournaments this season.
Hurst has emerged to keep an eye on the American players as she prepares to lead the US Solheim Cup team against a strong European squad in September. But Hurst sees her appearances this year less as a scout and more as a cheerleader.
“I’m just out here trying to support them,” she said last month in Las Vegas at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play, where she drove through Shadow Creek in her cart every day, keeping an eye on players who were making their roster could form.
“Anyone who is in the top 20 in the overall standings, I’m just trying to give them some love,” she said.
With half a season and three majors already on the books in 2021, the team of 12 is slowly taking shape. But with seven other events and two other majors there is still plenty of room for movement.
The top six players – Nelly Korda, Danielle King, Ally Ewing, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Austin Ernst – seem to have a place on the team. Another player will qualify from the scoring and two more based on the world rankings, leaving three places free for Hurst.
Those in this position are aware of Hurst’s presence, but try not to let it affect their performance.
“Pat is outside, seems to be watching almost every week, so I just try not to be careful when she’s hanging around,” said Stacy Lewis. “But I know she’s watching and paying attention.”
This may be easier for Solheim veterans like Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, and Lizette Salas, but not necessarily for those who have never been on a team before.
“Of course I hope to do a good job,” said Amy Olson, because Hurst has watched so much. “But hopefully I just earn my way and don’t need a pickaxe.”
Hurst may have an idea of what her team will be like, but with so many events to play before Decision Day, she’s holding onto her cards. She just wants to bring the best possible team to Inverness Golf Club and is not looking for anyone with special talent.
“They are great players. They are athletes, ”she said of her decisions. “You want to win. If you don’t want to win, you shouldn’t even go on tour. “
While Hurst points out positives, assistant captain Angela Stanford – who may make up the team as a player – keeps an eye out for players who can dig deep.
“For me, I honestly want to see how much they fight,” said Stanford. “When they come down, will they come back? I look at things like that. “
One thing that none of them follow is how the European squad is formed.
“I have my hands full with my Americans,” said Hurst. “I do not have time for that. I concentrate on my girls and try to be the best captain for them. “
Amateur from Southern Nevada
Scott Lytle defeated Jackson Parrish in one fell swoop on Sunday to claim the Southern Nevada Amateur Championship title at Paiute Golf Resort.
Lytle shot a Saturday 73 on the Snow Mountain course and a Sunday 69 on the Sun Mountain course, finishing 2 under 142, one better than Parrish. Hazen Newman, Josh Goldstein and Michael Sarro were two back.
In the Senior Division, Todd Roberts finished 2 over 146 for a one-shot lead over David Koch, whose Sunday 71 was the only below average lap of the weekend.
Other winners were Craig Garner (Championship Net), Luis Morais (Senior Net), Steven Fink (Silver Gross) and George Yocum (Silver Net).
– Josh Goldstein (Championship), Gary Carpendale (Senior) and Steven Fink (Silver) won the SNGA Tour Scratch Championship at Bear’s Best last week.
– Painted Desert will host a special night event on July 30th. Glow on the Greens, a 9-hole two-person scramble, will tee off with a shotgun start at 7 p.m.
Greg Robertson is a freelance reporter who covers golf for the Review Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.