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Las Vegas golfers eye trip to Paris on U.S. Olympic team

Alison Lee has the same routine every Monday.

The Las Vegas golfer checks her position in the Rolex World Rankings and crosses her fingers that she has done enough to remain in position to earn an Olympic berth this summer.

Lee will be headed to Paris as things stand now. But it is a precarious position at best.

“I’ve been thinking about it a little too much now, so I need to try my best to kind of stay calm and patient, because we still have a few months left of golf and anything can happen,” Lee said. “I’m just going to try and take it one day at a time, one tournament at a time and hopefully everything falls into place.”

Lee is not alone among Las Vegas golfers in her quest. Allisen Corpuz and Rose Zhang also have a shot at the team, while Collin Morikawa is within striking distance of representing the U.S. on the men’s side.

The Olympic teams will be based on world rankings and they will include four Americans — as long as they are in the top 15 in the rankings. Otherwise, countries can only have two representatives in the 60-player fields. The cutoff is June 17 for the men and June 24 for the women.

For the men, No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, No. 3 Wyndham Clark and No. 4 Xander Schauffele, the defending champion, are virtual locks. The fourth position remains up for grabs. No. 8 Patrick Cantlay, No. 9 Brian Harman and No. 10 Max Homa are jockeying for that last spot. Morikawa, at No. 13, could jump above them, but it would likely take a win at the PGA Championship later this month or the U.S. Open in June.

On the women’s side, defending champ and world No. 1 Nelly Korda and No. 2 Lilia Vu are in. It gets tricky after that. Megan Khang at 14th and Lee at 15th would be in right now, but they’re living on the cutoff line. Corpuz (19th) and Zhang (22nd) are lurking.

Lee recognizes this may be her only opportunity to get to the Olympics. She’s not taking it for granted. She’s also targeting a spot on this fall’s Solheim Cup team, all while chasing an elusive first win on the LPGA Tour.

“Those are really big dreams, really big goals,” Lee said. “I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. I mean, obviously as of right now I would be going to Paris. I don’t want get too worked up or too excited about that. I’m just trying really hard to take it one day at a time.

“Like I said, I can’t lie. It’s definitely something in the back of my head. I’m trying really hard to push it away and keep focused on what’s today and what’s tomorrow and not let next month’s problems get to me.”

UNLV men await fate

The UNLV men’s golf team will learn if it will continue playing this season when the NCAA regional fields are announced Wednesday. The Rebels are on the bubble to make one. They’re 56th in the Spikemark rankings, but a tie for seventh in the Mountain West championship did them no favors with the selection committee.

Unlike the UNLV women who were left out of the 72-team NCAA field, the men have more opportunities to get in with an 81-team field.

Should the men suffer the same fate as the women, seniors Caden Fioroni and Yuki Moriyama will most likely be added to one of the regionals as individual participants. Moriyama has two wins this spring at the All-American Intercollegiate and Wyoming Cowboy Classic and is ranked 99th in the nation. Fioroni has three top-three finishes, including at last week’s Mountain West tournament. He is ranked 92nd in the nation.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. Reach him at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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