AKRON, Ohio (AP) — One of Karrie Webb‘s greatest thrills was carrying the Olympic torch on the eve of the Sydney Games in 2000. She had a cousin who played for the Australian women’s basketball team in the 1984 Olympics, and she has been a huge fan since then.
It’s the reason Webb, a Hall of Famer with nothing left to prove, keeps a full schedule at age 41. Golf is back in the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, and Australia’s greatest female player wants to be there.
But in a sudden shift in the world ranking, Webb now faces an uphill battle.
Minjee Lee is the highest-ranked Aussie at No. 13 and a winner in Hawaii this year. Webb appeared safe to earn the second spot until Su Oh was runner-up at the Kingsmill Championship and then tied for eighth in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee.
Oh is No. 42 in the world, while Webb has slipped to No. 60.
Webb is playing the Cambia Portland Classic this week (Oh is not playing), and the final tournament before the July 11 deadline to qualify is the U.S. Women’s Open.
“The Olympics is pretty much why I’m still playing full time, so I guess that’s a pretty big driving factor for me to be working as hard as I am,” Webb said in March.
She started the year by finishing third in the Women’s Australian Open, but has not had a top-10 finish since then. Oh, who won the Australian Ladies Masters in 2015, is helped by being an LPGA rookie, meaning she has fewer tournaments on her ledger that gives her a built-in advantage.
Lee and Oh, both 20, were on the Australian team that won the World Amateur Team title in 2014. They also were members of the Karrie Webb Scholarship team while growing up in Australia’s junior golf program.