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Tokyo Games

The Korda sisters headline final women's golf qualifiers for Tokyo Olympics


Jamie Squire

Unlike the men’s game, the final official Olympics rankings revealed minimal volatility in the women's field. A week ago, when the men’s rankings went final, the official release from the International Golf Federation with the list of qualifiers was our first signal that several high profile names were declining to go to Tokyo for the summer games. Tyrrell Hatton, then a top 10 player in the world, and presumed to be playing for Great Britain at the Olympics, was nowhere to be found on the list. The same for Team GB first alternate Matthew Fitzpatrick, or South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, or Spain’s Sergio Garcia, or … you get the idea. The publication of the final list forced several of those would-be qualifiers to follow with statements on why they weren't going to Tokyo.

The final women’s list triggered far less drama. The only noticeable dropouts, or omissions, were South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and Great Britain’s Charley Hull. Pace became the first player on the women’s side to drop out of the 2016 games in Rio, and she’s choosing to take a pass again five years later. That means South Africa will have only one player in Ashleigh Buhai, with an alternate for Pace not landing high enough in the Rolex Rankings to yield the nation a second player.

Hull is 41st in the Rolex Rankings, high enough to join teammate Mel Reid in Tokyo. But Hull’s withdrawal opened the door for Georgia Hall, who is 51st in the Rolex Rankings, to join Reid as the second Team GB representative. But Hall then also announced that she would not be going to the games because of the travel strain on her schedule, which puts Jodi Shadoff in the field alongside Reid. Hull and Hall -- one vowel away but on the same page when it comes to not playing the Olympics. On Instagram, Hull provided some clarity for her decision to pass on Tokyo.

"I’ve been thinking long and hard over the past few months about this year’s Olympics and whether or not I’d be able to give my best performance given all the scheduling and travel challenges involved," she said. "Obviously it would be a huge privilege to represent my country but I have, very reluctantly, made the tough decision not to travel this year which has been very hard given all the amazing memories I have from my experience in Rio five years ago. I’ll be following Team GB closely in Tokyo and wish them all the best of luck.”

Pace’s WD opens the door for Maha Haddioui from Morocco to get in the field as the 60th and final qualifier.

The field is headlined by the strength of the United States and South Korea four-player squads. The U.S. is led by Nelly Korda, who became the new world No. 1 on Sunday with her first major victory, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Korda passed Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park to become the third American woman to sit atop the rankings. Ko and Park will both be part of the South Korean quartet in Tokyo.

Jessica Korda will join her sister as the fourth and final representative of the United States. There was some drama about that fourth spot in the final weeks of qualifying, but a challenger could not overtake Jess during this stretch with two majors in the last four weeks. There is the potential for a third sibling to be at the games, though Sebastian Korda indicated at Wimbledon this week that he was still undecided on going to Tokyo with Team USA for men’s tennis.

The women’s competition will take place August 5th through 8th, one week after the men’s contest at Kasumigaseki Country Club. There is always the potential for further withdrawals leading up to the games, but here’s your list of 60 competitors with qualifying now closed.

WOMEN'S OLYMPICS QUALIFIERS (Rolex Rankings in parenthesis)

Magdalena Simmermacher (399)

Minjee Lee (14)
Hannah Green (15)
Next in line: Katherine Kirk (104), Su-Hyun Oh (108)

Christine Wolf (288)

Manon De Roey (278)

Brooke Henderson (7)
Alena Sharp (136)

Shanshan Feng (19)
Xiyu Lin (62)
Next in line: Yu Liu (70)

Chinese Taipei
Wei-Ling Hsu (78)
Min Lee (130)
Next in line: Teresa Lu (146)

Mariajo Uribe (306)

Czech Republic
Kiara Spilkova (276)

Nanna Koerstz Madsen (52)
Emily Kristine Pedersen (69)
Next in line: Nicole Larsen (103)

Daniela Darquea (349)

Matilda Castren (74)
Sanna Nuutinen (232)

Celine Boutier (58)
Perrine Delacour (101)

Sophia Popov (23)
Caroline Masson (68)

Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Melissa Reid (38)
Jodi Shadoff (85)
Editor's Note: Charley Hull, ranked 41 in the Rolex Rankings, and Georgia Hall, ranked 51st, announced they would not be going to Tokyo. That puts Jodi Shadoff as the second altnerate behind Hall in the field. Next in line: Bronte Law (92)

Hong Kong
Tiffany Chan (218)

Aditi Ashok (178)

Leona Maguire (60)
Stephanie Meadow (122)

Giulia Molinaro (98)
Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso (405)

Nasa Hataoka (11)
Mone Inami (27)
Next in line: Ayaka Furue (29), Hinako Shibuno (31), Ai Suzuki (49)

Kelly Tan (154)

Gaby Lopez (64)
Maria Fassi (180)

Maha Haddioui (418)

The Netherlands
Anne van Dam (133)

New Zealand
Lydia Ko (10)

Marianne Skarpnord (265)

The Philippines
Yuka Saso (8)
Bianca Pagdanganan (165)

Puerto Rico
Maria Fernanda Torres (185)

Pia Babnik (301)

South Africa
Ashleigh Buhai (76)
Editor's Note: Lee-Anne Pace, ranked 209 in the Rolex Rankings, withdrew from the field.

South Korea
Jin Young Ko (2)
Inbee Park (3)
Sei Young Kim (4)
Hyo-Joo Kim (6)
Next in line: So Yeon Ryu (16), Min Park (18), Hana Jang (20), Jeongeun Lee6 (25), Hae Ryu (28)

Carlota Ciganda (32)
Azahara Munoz (84)

Anna Nordqvist (49)
Madelene Sagstrom (72)
Next in line: Pernilla Lindberg (149), Linnea Strom (151), Caroline Hedwall (165)

Albane Valenzuela (174)
Morgane Metraux (353)

Patty Tavatanakit (12)
Ariya Jutanugarn (21)
Next in line: Moriya Jutanugarn (34), Jasmine Suwannapura (82)

United States
Nelly Korda (1)
Danielle Kang (5)
Lexi Thompson (9)
Jessica Korda (13)
Next in line: Ally Ewing (17), Austin Ernst (22), Lizette Salas (24), Jennifer Kupcho (26), Amy Olson (30)