Saturday, January 24, 2015

LPGA 2015 Priority List

2015 LPGA Priority List

I have been asked many times how the LPGA constructs their field lists for tournaments.
Below is the 2015 priority list taken directly from the LPGA website:

The following priority with regards to a Member’s playing status will be used for Standard Tournament fields and other tournaments as applicable:

1. Top 80 Members in the top 80 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties will be broken by the Members’ position on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

(1) Stacy Lewis
(2) Inbee Park
(3) Lydia Ko
(4) Michelle Wie
(5) So Yeon Ryu
(6) Shanshan Feng
(7) Anna Nordqvist
(8) Karrie Webb
(9) Azahara Munoz
(10) Chella Choi
(11) Suzann Pettersen
(12) Lexi Thompson
(13) Na Yeon Choi
(14) Mirim Lee
(15) Cristie Kerr
(16) Jessica Korda
(17) Brittany Lincicome
(18) Julieta Granada
(19) Angela Stanford
(20) Pornanong Phatlum
(21) Jenny Shin
(22) Paula Creamer
(23) Mo Martin
(24) Lizette Salas
(25) Amy Yang
(26) Meena Lee
(27) Christina Kim
(28) Caroline Masson
(29) Brittany Lang
(30) Mi Jung Hur
(31) Mi Hyang Lee
(32) Catriona Matthew
(33) Karine Icher
(34) Hee Kyung Seo*
(35) Eun-Hee Ji
(36) Morgan Pressel
(37) Sandra Gal
(38) Ilhee Lee
(39) Lee-Anne Pace
(40) Gerina Piller
(41) Hee Young Park
(42) Austin Ernst
(43) Pernilla Lindberg
(44) Mariajo Uribe
(45) Carlota Ciganda
(46) Line Vedel
(47) Caroline Hedwall
(48) Haru Nomura
(49) I.K. Kim
(50) Haeji Kang
(51) Mina Harigae
(52) Danielle Kang
(53) Jane Park **
(54) Jodi Ewart Shadoff
(55) Beatriz Recari
(56) Yani Tseng
(57) Belen Mozo
(58) Moriya Jutanugarn
(59) Jennifer Johnson
(60) Kim Kaufman
(61) Se Ri Pak
(62) Nicole Castrale **
(63) Katherine Kirk
(64) Sun Young Yoo
(65) Sarah Jane Smith
(66) Natalie Gulbis **
(67) Thidapa Suwannapura
(68) Ayako Uehara
(69) Marina Alex
(70) Amelia Lewis
(71) Tiffany Joh
(72) Laura Davies
(73) Dewi Claire Schreefel
(74) Dori Carter
(75) Candie Kung
(76) Kris Tamulis
(77) Ji Young Oh
(78) Vicky Hurst **
(79) Sydnee Michaels
(80) Laura Diaz
(81) Giulia Sergas
(82) Paula Reto
(83) P.K. Kongkraphan
(84) Amy Anderson
** Medical
* Maternity

2. Career Top-20: Members in the Top-20 on the Career Money List as of the end of the last Official Tournament of the previous year. Priority is based on the order of the list. To be included in this category (a) the Member must notify the LPGA that she wants to be included in the Career Top-20 Category by December 15 of the previous year, (b) if a Member elects to be included in the Career Top-20 Category, she will be in this Category for one year,(c) a Member may be included in this
category only two times in her career, and (d) a Member may only be in the Career Top-20 Category or the Career Top-40 Category (but not both) in her career.

3. Major Winner: Members who have won an LPGA Major Championship while a Member during the previous five (5) years. Priority is based on the number of such wins during the previous five (5) years or during the current year. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

4. Winner: Members who have won an Official Tournament while a Member within the last two (2) years or during the current year. Priority is based on the number of Official Tournament wins during the previous two (2) years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

5. Multiple Wins: Members who have won at least two (2) Official Tournaments while a Member during the previous four (4) years (2011-2014). Priority is based on the number of wins during the previous four (4) years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. Beginning in 2016, Members who have won two (2) Official Tournaments in the same calendar year during the previous three (3) years (2013-2015). Priority is based on the number of wins during the previous three years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

(85) Ai Miyazato


6. Three Wins in the Same Season: Members who have won three (3) or more Official Tournaments while a Member during the same calendar year in the previous four (4) years (2011-2014). Priority is based on the number of wins during each calendar year. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

7. Non-Member Win: Players who have won at least one (1) Official Tournament as a Non-member within the previous calendar year or during the current calendar year. Priority is based on the earliest date of such wins. A Player must be eligible and accept LPGA membership to be eligible in this category.

(86) Hyo Joo Kim
(87) Kyu-Jung Baek

8. Current Year Top 80: Members in the Top-80 of the current year’s Money List after the (TBD) event with priority based on the order of the list. For the remaining Official Tournaments of the year, Members in the Top-80 on the current year’s Money List after the (TBD) event. Priority is based on the order of the list.

9. Top-10 LPGA Symetra Tour: Top-10 on the previous year’s season-ending Symetra Tour Money List. Priority is based on their position on the list.

(88) Marissa Steen
(89) Min Seo Kwak
(90) Christine Song**
(91) Jackie Stoelting
(92) Sadena Parks
(93) Min Lee
(94) Perrine Delacour **
(95) Wei-Ling Hsu
(96) Jaclyn Sweeney **
(97) Jenny Gleason**
(98) Yueer Cindy Feng
(99) Nicole Smith **
(100) Kendall Dye
(101) Demi Runas
(102) Mallory Blackwelder
** Medical

10. Non-Member Top-40: Non-Members who, as of the conclusion of the last Official Tournament of the previous year, won an amount of money during such year in Official Tournaments with a cut, that is equal to or greater than the amount of official money won by the Member who was in 40th place on the Money List at that time. Priority based on the amount of money won in such tournaments. A player must be eligible and accept LPGA membership to be eligible in this category.

11. Nos. 81-100: Members finishing Nos. 81-100 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties will be broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

(103) Xiyu Lin
(104) Juli Inkster
(105) Karin Sjodin **
(106) Jennifer Song
(107) Christel Boeljon
(108) Alison Walshe
(109) Katie Burnett
(110) Brooke Pancake
(111) Kelly Tan
(112) Danah Bordner *
(113) Jennifer Rosales
(114) Paige Mackenzie **
(115) Mika Miyazato
(116) Sarah Kemp
(117) Jaye Marie Green
(118) Alena Sharp
(119) Lindsey Wright
(120) Kristy McPherson
(121) Ashleigh Simon
(122) Joanna Klatten
(123) Seon Hwa Lee **
(124) Paz Echeverria
** Medical
** Maternity

12. Top-20 Q-School: Players finishing Nos. 1-20 at the previous year’s LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Ties are broken on the basis of the lowest, most recent round in Stage III of the Qualifying Tournament. In the event of a tie for 20th place, the 20th place shall be determined through a play-off held at the Qualifying Tournament.

(125) Alison Lee
(126) Minjee Lee
(127) Ariya Jutanugarn
(128) Maria Hernandez
(129) Ryann O’Toole
(130) Victoria Elizabeth **
(131) Sei Young Kim
(132) Lisa Ferrero **
(133) Simin Feng
(134) Ha Na Jang
(135) Nannette Hill
(136) Kelly Shon
(137) Cheyenne Woods
(138) Therese Koelbaek
(139) SooBin Kim
(140) Sakura Yokomine
(141) Amanda Blumenherst *
(142) Sophia Popov
(143) Ju Young Park
(144) Garrett Phillips
(145) Laetitia Beck
(146) Karlin Beck
** Medical
* Maternity

13. Three-Time LPGA Symetra Tour Current-Year Win Category: Winners of three (3) official LPGA Symetra Tour tournaments during the current year. (A player does not gain LPGA membership by winning three times on the LPGA Symetra Tour. If the player entering through this category is a Non-Member, any prize money she wins will be unofficial. If the player is a Member,
any prize money she wins will be official)

14. Career Top-40 Category: Members in the Top-40 on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. Priority is based on the order of the list. To be included in this category (a) the Member must notify the LPGA that she wants to be included in the Career Top-40 Category by December 15 of the previous year, and (b) if a Member elects to be included in the Career Top-40 Category she will be in this category for one year, (c) a Member may be included in this category only one time in her career, (d) a Member may only be in the Career Top-40 Category or the Career Top-20 Category (but not both) in her career.

(147) Maria McBride
(148) Michele Redman

15. Current-Year Reshuffle: After the tenth (10th) Official Tournament (Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout), Members in categories 16 through 20 who have earned official money will be re-seeded into Category 15. Members placed into Category 15 will be ranked in the order of their position on the current year’s Money List through the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout. Members will remain in their position within this category until the next reshuffle. After the sixteenth
(16th) Official Tournament (Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G), Members in categories 15 and 16 through 20 who have earned official money will be re-seeded into Category 15. Members placed into Category 15 will be ranked in the order of their position on the current year’s Money List through the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
presented by P&G. Members will remain in their position within this category for the remainder of the calendar year.

16. Nos. 101-125 Category: Members finishing Nos. 101-125 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties will be broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

(149) Jee Young Lee
(150) Becky Morgan
(151) Lisa McCloskey
(152) Alejandra Llaneza
(153) Chie Arimura
(154) Paola Moreno
(155) Hee-Won Han
(156) Jacqui Concolino
(157) Rebecca Lee-Bentham
(158) Jennifer Kirby
(159) Felicity Johnson
(160) Cydney Clanton
(161) Giulia Molinaro
(162) Jenny Suh
(163) Jeong Jang
(164) Sandra Changkija
(165) Sue Kim
(166) Haley Millsap **
(167) Jane Rah
(168) Stacey Keating
(169) Pat Hurst
(170) Jimin Kang
(171) Hannah Jun Medlock
** Medical
17. Nos. 21-45 Q-School Category: Players finishing Nos. 21-45 and those players tied at the 45th position at the previous year’s LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Priority is based on the order of their finish at the Qualifying Tournament. Ties are broken on the basis of the lowest most recent round in the Final Qualifying Tournament.

(172) Julie Yang
(173) Stephanie Meadow
(174) Casey Grice
(175) Nontaya Srisawang
(176) Daniela Iacobelli
(177) Louise Stahle
(178) Charley Hull
(179) Natalie Sheary
(180) Jeong Eun Lee
(181) Jean Reynolds
(182) Lindy Duncan
(183) Jing Yan
(184) Celine Herbin
(185) Emma de Groot
(186) Sophie Giquel
(187) Elizabeth Nagel
(188) Caroline Westrup
(189) Katy Harris
(190) Marta Sanz Barrio

The above players all have active playing cards going into the 2015 season.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Top 30 Player of the Year Predictions for 2015

We are just about a week away from the beginning of the 2015 LPGA season.
With 34 tournaments on the schedule (including the Solheim Cup), this year promises to be the most interesting season ever.

Here are my top 30 picks for the 2015 LPGA Player of the Year: (last year's actual finish is in parenthesis)

1- Stacy Lewis (1) - This one is really tough. I kept changing my mind. Any one of my top 4 players could finish here. I pick Stacy because I believe she wants that #1 Rolex Ranking back very badly and will come out of the gate faster than anyone else. I look for her to repeat.

2- Lydia Ko (3) - Can she become the next Player of the Year? Of course she could. For the reasons I stated above, I think she will have to wait another year. It will help if she could win her first Major Championship.

3- Inbee Park (2) - The 2013 winner, almost pulled it out again last year. I look for her to slip back ever so slightly into this position.

4- Michelle Wie (4) - A late season injury prevented Michelle from contending for this title last year. Looking as comfortable as she has ever been on the LPGA tour, I see this as a 4 way race for the top, and yes, if healthy Michelle could win it.

5- Chella Choi (16) - I will probably get some criticism for picking her this high. I just think she is ready to take her game to the next level. Look for her to get that elusive first LPGA victory this year, and it just might be a Major Championship. The talent is there, but as the slowest player on the tour, she needs to speed up her game.

6- Suzann Pettersen (12) - If her back injuries continue to affect her game, then I am picking her too high. If she is healthy she is still a threat to win every week.

If healthy, look for Suzann to be among the best of 2015

7- So Yeon Ryu (6) - I always feel that she should win more than she does. Contends on a regular basis, but has a difficult time finishing. If she could drop a few more final round putts, watch out!

8- Shanshan Feng - (5) - One of the premiere players on the LPGA tour, she could finish anywhere from #5 to #10 on this list.

9- Hyo-Joo Kim (N/A) - I haven't seen enough of her to make a real intelligent pick here. What I have seen is sure impressive. A rookie this year on the LPGA tour, she has won 10 times in Asia. The competition is stronger here, but look for her to finish in the top ten.

10- Lexi Thompson (7) - It shows just how strong the LPGA is, when I can just barely fit her into my top 10. Lexi won her first Major Championship in 2014, but cooled off a bit after that.

11- Azahara Munoz (14) - After a poor 2013, Azahara bounced back to have her most consistent year of her career. Still looking for that first stroke play victory (she won the Sybase Match Play tournament), I predict it will come this year.

12- Jessica Korda (10) -  She won twice last year but didn't do much of anything else. I need to see more consistency in her game before I can rate her higher. She has the potential to be a top 5 player.

13- Pornanong Phatlum (26) - I am predicting many first time winners this year, and Pornanong is on the top of my list. Look for her to get to that next level this year.

14- Mirim Lee - (11) - She won twice last year and didn't win the Rookie of the Year award because of a player named Lydia Ko. I don't think she will win twice again this year, but I do expect another solid year.

15- Brittany Lincicome (19) - At the mid point of last season it appeared that her better days were behind her. She fooled us all by having a very strong second half. In fact, she had 3 top five finishes, and 5 top tens in her last 8 starts. When she is focused she is still one of the top players in the world. I look for a continuation of that 2nd half focus.

Will her hot second half of the 2014 season lead to big things in 2015?

16- Julieta Granada - (22) -  She had an excellent 2014 season, and I expect continued improvement this year.

17- Minjee Lee - (N/A) -  I know I may be getting a few Minjee Who? Those people will find out this year just how good this Australian rookie is. She could very likely be higher than this.

18- Anna Nordqvist  (9) - She won twice very early in the year and it appeared that she had regained that spark that had been missing in previous years. Unfortunately, the spark seemed to fade in the second half of the season and she was just another very good player.

19- Na Yeon Choi (23) -  She should be in the prime of her career, but she seems to be fading. I look for a slight improvement in her game this year, but there are too many good players to rate her higher than this.

20- Paula Creamer (18) - Paula won her 10th career victory last year but did not have a very good season. Not up to our expectations anyway. She recently got married and that makes this year even harder to predict. Her days of being among the elite players have seemed to have come and gone. I hope I am wrong and she makes this prediction look foolish.

21- Karrie Webb (8) - Speaking of looking foolish, Karrie makes me look that way every year. I keep predicting a decline in her game and it never happens. I'm going to be stubborn though, and predict that drop off in her game to come this year.

22- Cristie Kerr - (15) - She did everything but win in 2014. Her putting just doesn't seem to be what it once was, and the fact that she is now a mother, both point towards a decline in 2015.

23- Angela Stanford (20) - Just penciling her in about where she finishes every year.

24- Jenny Shin - (34) - Has streaks when she looks like a top 10 player, then disappears for long stretches before resurfacing again. She is still only 22 years old, and I look for those good stretches to be longer this year.

25- Kyu Ju Baek (N/A) - I will have a better chance of rating her when I get the chance to see her play. A rookie this year, she has already been ranked in the top 10 in the world. I am told by the experts that she is rated a notch below Hyo-Joo.

26- Charley Hull (N/A) - Another 2015 rookie, but this one I have seen play many times. She earned a category 17 playing card (limited play) in Q-School, but look for that to change after the first re-shuffle when she will then get to play regularly. I am sure she will use her sponsor exemptions to play earlier in the year when she doesn't qualify. A future superstar!

27- Mi Jung Hur (24) - It was a strong comeback season for MJ. I look for more of the same this coming year.

28- Ihlee Lee (37) - After a horrendous first half of the season where she made very few cuts, she found her game and seemed to be in contention every week. I rate her game somewhere in the middle of those two half seasons.

29- Lee-Anne Pace - (29) - She won her first LPGA tournament in 2014. A player that misses very few cuts, look for another solid season.

30- Kim Kaufman - (50) - My surprise pick of 2015. She had a very solid rookie season in spite of not playing the first one third of the year on the LPGA Tour. I look for continued improvement in 2015.

My surprise pick. Can Kim Kaufman break into the top 30 this year?


Player most likely to make me look foolish for not picking her - Ariya Jutanugarn.

Player that could be the biggest surprise of the season - Alison Lee.

Player most likely to disappoint - Sakura Yokomine.
Be sure to add your own picks in the comments section.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Ten Questions for the 2015 Season

As we approach the beginning of the 2015 LPGA season, there are a number of questions that I am looking forward to getting the answers to. In reverse order, here are my top ten:

10- Can Sakura Yokomine (2015 LPGA rookie) break the terrible slump that Japanese players have been in for the past couple of years?

9- Will Azahara Munoz, one of the most consistent players on tour, break through and get her first stroke play victory? (She won the Sybase Championship which was a match play event.)

Azahara Munoz Holds Up Her Match Play Trophy for Winning the Sybase Championship


8- Can Hyo-Joo Kim (ranked #7 in the world) and Kyu Jung Baek (ranked #11), have the same kind of success on the LPGA Tour that they had on the KLPGA?

7- Will one or more of the following players: Pornanong Phatlum, Chella Choi, Carlotta Ciganda, or Gerina Piller, finally break through and get that highly anticipated first victory?

6- Is this the year that former #1 player Yani Tseng (now #83) starts climbing back in the right direction?

5- With youngsters Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson winning their first Major Championships in 2014, is it Lydia Ko's turn to do it in 2015?

Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie Both Won Major Championships in 2014


4- Can the U.S., coming off major disappointments in the last two Solheim Cup competitions, bounce back and bring the trophy back to America?

3- Can Stacy Lewis return to the #1 position in the world for the third time, or will Lydia Ko take Inbee Park's spot on top of the Rolex Rankings?

2- With Michelle Wie coming off the best season of her career, is she ready to join the big three (Inbee, Stacy, Lydia) and make it the big four?

1- Is it even possible for the LPGA to match or better the success it had in 2014?

Feel free to add your own questions, or give your answers to the above in the comments section.


 (Currenly 1,210 followers)


Monday, January 12, 2015

Top LPGA Stories of 2014

As we wait for the start of the 2015 season, which is only three weeks away, I would like to look back at what I consider to be the top stories of 2014.

It was a very interesting and exciting past year. There were multiple teenage winners, exciting playoffs, miraculous comebacks, engagements, marriages, and a number of first time winners.

I have narrowed it down to ten, although I know there were many more. This list is very subjective, depending on who your favorite golfers are. A top story for me may be one that someone else might want to forget.

Please feel free to add your own in the comments section. I would like to hear your opinions.

So in reverse order, here we go:

10- Christina Kim Wins the Lorena Ochoa Invitational
Normally winning this tournament probably wouldn't make this list, but it's the story within the story that makes this news worthy. Her problems were well documented. It appeared her golfing career (and maybe much more than that), were in a serious downward spiral. She started playing better earlier in the year and capped her season off with this extremely unlikely victory. Whether you're a fan of hers or not, this was a heart warming story

9- Hyo-Joo Kim Wins the Evian Championship
Unless you are big fan of women's golf, you may not have known who she was. You do now. She had already won 8 times on the KLPGA Tour (and once on the JLPGA), and she isn't even 20 yet. She will be a 2015 LPGA rookie, and the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award.

8- The LPGA Holds Its First International Crown.
Chalk up another success for Commissioner Michael Whan. The LPGA clearly needed a competition like this that gave all countries a chance to compete. It wasn't perfect, it could use a little tweaking, but it was hugely successful. Spain was the inaugural winner. 


Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, Carlotta Ciganda, and Belan Mozo Win It For Spain

7- Lydia Ko Wins the Race to the CME Globe.
It was a season long fight, and Lydia came up big and took home the one million dollar bonus. By the way she won that tournament also, her third win of the year.


Lydia Ko Wins the CME Race to the Globe and One Million Dollars

6- Men & Women Play Back to Back at Pinehurst.
They said it would never work. There was severe criticism from the press, some fans, and even some of the players, when it was announced that the men and women would be playing their U.S. Open Champion on successive weeks on the same course. It turned out to be one of the true highlights of the 2015 season. LPGA ratings soared to new highs. Put another feather in the cap of Mr. Michael Whan, the best Commissioner in all of sports.

 5- Paula Creamer Sinks Miracle Putt to Win HSBC Women's Championship.
We will be seeing this putt over and over again for years to come. It was in a sudden death playoff, it was 75 feet, it was for eagle, and it gave Paula her 10th career LPGA victory. 


Paula Creamer sinks Miracle Putt To Win HSBC

4- Mo Martin Wins British Open.
I wonder what the Vegas odds were for Mo winning this championship. A career Symetra Tour player, nobody saw this coming. She did it in dramatic fashion, carding an eagle on the 72nd hole. By the way, all she did was nose out Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park, and Shanshan Feng for the major trophy. 

3- Stacy Lewis Sweeps All 3 Major Season Ending Awards.
Betsy King was the last American to do it, in 1993. Stacy Lewis Won the 2014 Player of the Year, Vare Trophy, and was the leading money winner. In doing so, she picked up an additional 2 Hall of Fame points.

2- Michelle Wie Wins U.S. Open.
It was a long time coming, but Michelle finally won that elusive first Major Championship. It could not have come on a bigger stage (see #6 above).

1- Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie Go Head to Head at the Kraft.
Why do I have this as the year's biggest story? Because many people who weren't big LPGA fans, tuned in for that final Sunday round. It was a clash of two young superstars. One that we will be seeing many more times in the future. Lexi would go on to win her first Major Championship. In my opinion this was the turning point of the great 2014 LPGA season. 



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Monday, January 5, 2015

Why The LPGA is Pro Golf's Fastest Rising Tour



The LPGA Pro Golf's fastest Rising Tour?
If I said that 5 years ago you would have laughed at me. You can't now as the LPGA has not only become the fastest rising pro golf tour, but it just might be the fastest growing tour in all of sports.

We have all seen the television ads stating "See Why It's Different Out Here".  At first glance you might say that sounds corny. The truth of the matter is that it is absolutely true. It is different out there, and that is why the LPGA has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 5 years. What are the reasons for such rapid growth?

1- Commissioner Michael Whan - On January 4th 2010 Mr. Whan took the reigns as the Commissioner of the LPGA. He took over what many called "a sinking ship" and made a difference immediately. He took over a tour that only had 23 tournaments on its schedule. In 2015 the LPGA has 33 tournaments on its schedule, and that does not include the Solheim Cup. Mr. Whan has continuously come up with ways to make the tour better. Anything else I say about this man would be repetitive (See my article on Commissioner Whan).

2- Influx of Young Talent - The LPGA is loaded with bright young superstars. Michelle Wie (yes she is still very young), Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, Mirim Lee, Charley Hull, and Jessica Korda, just to name a few. Not even the PGA can boast having as many young superstars.

3- Rivalries - With Tiger Woods not remotely the player he was in past years, and Phil Mickelson also past his prime, the most die hard PGA fans will have to admit that the lack of rivalries is responsible for that tour's declining TV numbers. That is certainly not the case with the LPGA. Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park have been battling each other not only on the course each week, but for the number one spot in the world rankings. Who could forget the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship this past year? Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie went head to head with Thompson winning her first major championship. Just a few weeks later Wie got her revenge by winning the U.S. Open. This rivalry should go on for years to come.

4- The LPGA is by Far and Away the Most Accessible and Fan Friendly Tour - This one isn't even close. If you bring your kids to a football game, what are the chances of you getting a Peyton Manning autograph? How about getting one from Lebron James at a basketball game? Probably not very good, or better yet, next to impossible. Take your kids to an LPGA event and there is an excellent chance that they will be going home with a hat or ball signed by their favorite player. Commissioner Michael Whan and Kraig Kann (Chief Communications Officer), have made this tour more fan friendly, and press friendly, than any other professional sport. Don't take my word for it, go out to a tournament. I am sure you will want to go back again!

5- The LPGA is Truly an International Tour - In 2014 there were players from 35 different countries teeing it up on the LPGA Tour.  This has not only brought interest to the tour from all over the world, but has opened up many new opportunities for tournament sponsorship. In 2015 the first player from Isreal will be competing. In 2014 the LPGA held its first International Crown tournament. It was won by Spain.

6- We Can Learn More From Watching the Women Than We Can From Watching the Men - Let's face it, most of us can't hit 365 yard drives. The men on the PGA Tour are out of our league. That is not the case when watching the LPGA players. Especially live. These girls are really good, and I am not saying that we can beat them, but it is easier to learn from them. Come on out to a tournament earlier in the week and I am sure you could pick up a few pointers watching their routines on the driving range and putting greens.

7- The Depth on this Tour Leads to Exciting Finishes - Those of you who read my blog know I am always saying that it seems every tournament comes down to the 72nd hole. With so many great players on the LPGA tour, there are very few runaway victories. This makes for great television, and explains why the LPGA ratings are rising each and every year. In fact, going into the final tournament of the year, we still didn't know who would win the Player of the Year, the Vare Trophy, who the leading money winner for the year would be, who would win the Race to the CME Globe and its 1 million dollar prize, and who would be #1 in the Rolex World Rankings. Tell me that wasn't exciting TV.

8- The U.S. Dominated the Winners' Circle in 2014 - I have already stated how important it is to this tour to have an International flavor. I couldn't imagine going to a tournament and not seeing such great players as Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Suzann Pettersen, and Lydia Ko. That said, this is still a U.S. based tour. This tour's continued growth is reliant on the American players holding their own. They more than held their own in 2014, leading all countries with 13 victories. With Stacy Lewis winning three times, and victories from such big stars as Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, and Lexi Thompson, television ratings soared. In fact, Stacy Lewis was the first American player to win the top 3 awards (Player of the Year, Vare Trophy, and leading money winner) since Betsy King in 1993. It was a huge comeback for the American players who hadn't achieved this rate of success in a very long time. Here is what the last 10 years have looked like:

2005- 31 tournaments - 9 U.S wins = 29.0%
2006- 33 tournaments - 7 wins = 21.2%
2007- 30 tournaments - 10 wins = 33.0%
2008- 34 tournaments - 10 wins = 29.4%
2009- 27 tournaments - 5 wins = 18.5%
2010- 24 tournaments - 4 wins = 16.7%
2011- 23 tournaments - 4 wins = 17.4%
2012- 27 tournaments - 7 wins = 29.6%
2013- 28 tournaments - 7 wins = 25.0%
2014- 32 tournaments - 13 wins = 40.6%

To sum up, in recent years we have seen the talent grow, the purses grow, the ratings grow, and the number of tournaments grow. They have all grown significantly. The LPGA has now become the most interesting tour in professional golf.


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Year 2014 - Final

As we wait for the 2015 season to begin (we are about three weeks away), it gives me a little time to look back at the players that made the biggest moves in the Rolex Rankings in 2014.

The Rolex Rankings system awards points to players based on an accumulated 104-week "rolling" period, with the points awarded in the most recent 13-week period carrying a stronger value. A player is then ranked according to her average points per tournament, as determined by dividing her total number of points by the number of eligible tournaments played during the 104 week period. A minimum divisor (35) is also used.

I have gone back to the first Rolex Rankings of the year and compared them to the current rankings. The only requirements for my list is: (1) A player must have been ranked in the top 100 at the start of the year, or be in the top 100 now. (2) A player must have started the year 2014 with a minimum rating of 0.50 (or else this chart would be filled with unknown names.)




Michelle Wie made the biggest move in the Rolex Rankings in 2014


The Year's Biggest Gainers:
1-   Michelle Wie - 1.77 to 6.39 = Gain of 4.62 (moved from #61 to #6)
2-   Kyu Jung Baek - 0.53 to 4.93 = Gain of 4.40 (move 205 to 11)
3-   Hyo-Joo Kim - 3.08 to 6.07 = Gain of 2.99 (move 24 to 8)
4-   Mirim Lee - 1.23 to 3.99 = Gain of 2.76 (move 87 to 16)
5-   Lydia Ko - 7.38 to 9.80 = Gain of 2.42 (move 4 to 2)
6-   Christina Kim - 0.58 to 2.18 = Gain of 1.60 (move 189 to 53)
7-   In Gee Chun - 1.94 to 3.53 = Gain of 1.59 (move 58 to 20)
8-   Julieta Granada - 1.09 to 2.68 Gain of 1.59 (move 105 to 35)
9-   Anna Nordqvist - 3.04 to 4.61 = Gain of 1.57 (move 26 to 12)
10- Azahara Munoz - 2.73 to 4.17 = Gain of 1.54 (move 31 to 14)
11- Mo Martin - 1.21 to 2.74 = Gain of 1.53 (move 89 to 33)
12- Charley Hull - 1.12 to 2.61 = Gain of 1.49 (move 103 to 38)
13- Brittany Lincicome - 2.28 to 3.68 = Gain of 1.40 (move 46 to 18)
14- Jung Min Lee - 1.54 to 2.74 = Gain of 1.20 (move 71 to 31)
15- Yoo-Kyung Heo - 1.59 to 2.74 = Gain of 1.18 (move 68 to 32)
16- Mi Jung Hur - 0.74 to 1.83 = Gain of 1.09 (move 157 to 64)
17- Sun Ju Ahn - 2.99 to 4.02 = Gain of 1.03 (move 27 to 15)
18- Line Vedel - 0.60 to 1.61 = Gain of 1.01 (move 179 to 71)


Former #1, Ai Miyazato, fell out of the top 100


The Year's Biggest Decliners:
1-   Suzann Pettersen - 10.25 to 7.02 = Loss of 3.24 (move from #2 to #4)
2-   Ai Miyazato - 3.56 to 1.12 = Loss of 2.44 (move 21 to 104)
3-   Mika Miyazato - 3.54 to 1.40 = Loss of 2.14 (move 22 to 82)
4-   Na Yeon Choi - 5.63 to 3.79 = Loss of 1.84 (move from 7 to 17)
5-   Beatriz Recari - 3.72 to 1.91 = Loss of 1.81 (move from 19 to 61)
6-   I.K. Kim - 4.55 to 2.82 = Loss of 1.73 (move 10 to 29)
7-   Ariya Jutanugarn - 2.76 to 1.15 = Loss of 1.61 (move 29 to 105)
8-   Catriona Mathhew - 4.45 to 2.90 = Loss of 1.55 (move 11 to 28)
9-   Hee Young Park - 3.75 to 2.29 = Loss of 1.46 (move 18 to 48)
10- Miki Saiki - 2.32 to 0.94 = Loss of 1.38 (move 44 to 127)
11- Jiyai Shin - 3.96 to 2.65 = Loss of 1.31 (move 16 to 36)
12- Hee Kyung Seo - 2.41 to 1.14 = Loss of 1.27 (move 43 to 103)
13- Yani Tseng - 2.62 to 1.39 = Loss of 1.23 (move 35 to 83)
13- Mamaika Higa - 2.15 to 0.92 = Loss of 1.23 (move 49 to 130)
15- Caroline Hedwall - 3.30 to 2.08 = Loss of 1.22 (move 23 to 55)
16- Mi Jeong Jeon - 2.13 to 0.97 = Loss of 1.16 (move 50 to 126)
17- Chie Arimura - 1.65 to 0.56 = Loss of 1.09 (move 66 to 203)



One last note-- I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2015.
Let's play lots of golf and keep supporting the great ladies of the LPGA, and the other women's tours.

I would also like to give a round of applause to the Constructivist over at Mostly Harmless, Bankokbobby at Fairways and Forehands, and Mike Southern at Ruthless Golf for keeping the LPGA, and women's golf in general, in the news. I always look forward to reading your next blogs. I also want to thank Dave Andrews at PopsandSunshine, for all his great comments and views.


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Monday, December 22, 2014

How Well Were My Pre-Season Questions Answered?

Way back in January, before the LPGA season began, I listed 10 questions that I hoped would be answered this year.

Below I have shown those questions again. Let's see how well those questions were answered:

1- Can Inbee Park hold on to the world's #1 ranking?

She lost it pretty early in the season, but regained it with a very strong second half. 

2- Can anyone really challenge Lydia Ko for the rookie of the year award?

No one did. Although Mirim Lee tried her best, winning two tournaments.

3- Is Lexi Thompson ready to join the big three (Inbee, Stacy, Suzann), and make it the big four?

No. She did win her first major, but that was her only win in a very inconsistent year. Lydia Ko replaced Suzanne in the big three.

4-  Will one or more of the following players: Chella Choi, Caroline Hedwall, Carlotta Ciganda, Gerina Piller, break through and get that highly anticipated first LPGA victory?

Although there were a number of players that broke through for their first career victories, none of the above were able to accomplish that.

5-  Can Yani Tseng break the free fall she's been in during the past year and a half, and return to something that at least resembles her previous form?

No. Yani hasn't even come close to her old form. In fact she is not even ranked in the top 80 in the world.

 6-  Can Gerina Piller, Pornanong Phatlum, and Lizette Salas follow up their breakthrough seasons and take it to the next level?

Lizette won her first LPGA tournament in 2014, and Pornanong was consistently good all year. Gerina did not improve on her 2013 finish.

7-  Can top Japanese players Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Chie Arimura, and Momoko Ueda bounce back from what may have been their poorest seasons ever? (Momoko has stated she may not play many LPGA events.)

It was an awful year for Japanese players in 2014. Ai, Mika, and Chie had seasons they hope to forget. Momoko quit the LPGA tour. 

8-  Is Beatriz Recari really the best of the young Spaniards (Ciganda, Munoz, Mozo), or did she just have a career year?

At this point it looks like she may have had a career year. She did not resemble the same golfer she was in 2013. Azahara had the best year of the four.

9- What effect will Paula Creamer's recent engagement (if any), have on her 2014 season? Will she get that elusive 10th win?

Part of the above question was answered, she did get that 10th win. However her 2014 season was not a good one when compared to the high standards she has set for herself. Now married...........

10- Can the American team shake off two consecutive Solheim Cup defeats and make a better showing at the International Crown?

Spain won the 2014 International Crown. The United States, along with the other co-favorite South Korea, did not play well. 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Surprises & Disappointments - Final 2014

With the 2014 season in the books, I would like to look back at the players who were the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments of the 2014 season.



Michelle Wie was my Biggest Surprise of the 2014 Season



Biggest Surprises:

1- Michelle Wie - We waited for a long time for this to happen. So long, that most of us thought it might never happen at all. Well it did! In spite of missing a chunk of the season with an injury, she still managed to win twice (including the U.S. Open), have 9 top five finishes, and 13 top tens. Last year she finished #41 on the money list, this year she finished #4.

2- Mirim Lee - All the talk was about Lydia Ko this year, and in my opinion Mirim was overlooked. All she did was win twice in her rookie season, have 4 top tens, and 11 top twenty finishes. Her 14th place finish on the money list deserves to be noticed.

3- Julieta Granada - She really came into her own in 2014 with 3 top five finishes, 8 top tens, and 14 top twenties. She also improved her money list finish from # 55 last year to #18 this year. 

4- Ihlee Lee - You will not find her big improvement by comparing her numbers to last year. Her 2013 numbers were padded by a 36 hole win in the Bahamas, otherwise it was not a very good year. This year started horribly with no top 20 finishes in her first 18 starts, but then she caught fire and was one of the most consistent players on tour. In her next 10 tournaments she would have 5 top tens and 9 top 20 twenty finishes.

5- Brittany Lincicome - Brittany had a poor 2013 season, and had a very poor first half of 2014. Many thought that the end was near. That certainly didn't turn out to be the case as she had 3 top fives, and 5 top tens in her last 8 starts. 

6- M.J. Hur - Nobody has really paid attention to MJ in quite some time. She hadn't played very well for a number of years. That all changed in the second half of the 2014 season, when she was as hot as any player on tour. She not only won, but had 2 top fives, 3 top tens, and 5 top twenties. She finished #30 on the money list, up from # 75 last year.

7- Lydia Ko - Why do I have her this far down the list? It is because I think that some of us really weren't that surprised that she won 3 times and had 15 top ten finishes. That said, how can I leave off a rookie that finished in the #3 position.

8- Jenny Shin - Even though she tailed off some in the second half, it did not tarnish the fact that this was her best year on tour. With 6 top tens, and 14 top twenties, she climbed all the way up to #21 on the money list this year.

9- Kim Kaufman - Before the year started, many people wrote in listing their top rookie picks of the year. With so many good rookies, nobody, including myself, had Kim on their list. In spite of not playing the first one third of the season, she had 2 top fives, 3 top tens, and 5 top twenty finishes. With many fewer starts than most players ahead of her, she still managed to finish #58 on the money list.

10- Mi Hyang Lee - With all the Lee's on tour (see Mirim and Ilhee above), her comeback season didn't get much attention. Lost was the fact that she not only won, but had 4 top tens, and 8 top twenty finishes. Last year she finished #92 on the money list. This year she finished #31.

Honorable Mentions - Austin Ernst and Line Vedel.

Ai Miyazato was the biggest disappointment of 2014


Biggest Disappointments:

1- Ai Miyazato - Ai had an off year in 2013 finishing all the way down at #27 on the money list. We all thought she would bounce back in 2014. We were all wrong. It is hard to explain the dramatic fall she took this year, except to say that she did not have a single top ten finish all year. Her fall to #86 on the money list explains it even better.

2- Mika Miyazato - She had almost the same year as Ai did. Mika failed to have a single top twenty finish the entire season. She dropped on the money list from #36 to #91.

3- I.K. Kim - I.K. did not show up for many tournaments in 2014, playing in just 18 of a possible 32. When she did show up, she just didn't play that well. Managing just 2 top ten finishes, she fell from her #7 money list finish last year, to #48 this year.

4- Beatriz Recari - Beatriz had a breakout season in 2013 when she won twice. We expected a small drop this year, but got a big one. With only one top ten all year, she dropped from #8 last year to #53 on the money list this year.

5- Chie Arimura - She came onto the LPGA with high expectations, but has not lived up to them thus far. She had just one top 20 finish all year, and went back to Q-School where she missed the cut. She finished #106 on the money list.

6- Sun Young Yoo - Once one of the better players in the world, she just didn't show up in 2014. In 25 starts she had just one top ten, while finishing outside the top 25 eighteen times. She fell way back to #61 on the money list.

7- Amy Yang - Amy didn't have a terrible year, she just had a terrible year based on her standards. Although she had 4 top tens, she didn't contend very often, and fell all the way down to #25 on the money list.

8- Hee Young Park - In 29 starts this year, she managed just 2 top tens. Last year she finished #10 on the money list, this year #40.

9- Caroline Hedwall - Maybe if we didn't see her win all 5 of her matches at the last Solheim Cup, our expectations might have been lower. Still, just one top ten all year? She was #14 on last year's money list, and # 46 this year.

10- Jennifer Johnson - Jennifer was disappointed in 2013 when she was not picked for the Solheim Cup Team. With just one top ten in 25 starts in 2014, she is going to have to play much better than that to be considered in 2015. She finished all the way back at #57 on this year's money list.


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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Looking Back At My 2014 Predictions. Did I Get It Right?

The 2014 LPGA season was full of surprises. We had 21 different winners. We had 8 multiple winners. Two winners were non LPGA members. We also had winners that came from 7 different countries. We had seven first time winners. It was a year that was almost impossible to predict, although I did give it a try.

Way back in January, before the season began, I made my predictions of who I thought would be the top players of 2014. I put it out there for the whole world to see. Let's see how I did:

  1. Stacy Lewis - She won every major award possible. She was the top money winner of 2014. She won the Rolex Player of the Year, and won the Vare trophy. Needless to say, I got this one correct.
  2. Suzann Pettersen - Suzann finished the 2013 season very strongly and figured to have a big 2014.  Back problems slowed her down for a part of the year, and she never seemed to get on track. She did not have a win, but did finish #11 on the money list.
  3. Lydia Ko - Predicting a rookie to finish #3 is usually not the thing to do. But this rookie was a really special one. She easily won the  Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, and made me look great by finishing #3 on the money list.
  4. Inbee Park - Inbee had a terrific year winning three times. She missed out on all the major awards on the last day of the season, finishing #2 on the money list.
  5. Lexi Thompson - After finishing #7 in 2013, I figured a step up was in the making. She started quick when she won the first Major Championship of the year, and the first of her career. She had an up & down second half, which resulted in her finishing #12 on the money list.
  6. Shanshan Feng - Shanshan seemed to be in contention all year long, but managed just one win. You can high five me on this one as she did finish #6.
  7. Na Yeon Choi - Never seemed to be the threat to win that she was in past years. She wound up finishing #13 on the money list, leaving us wondering about next year.
  8. So Yeon Ryu - Always dangerous, and almost always in contention in 2014, she finished #5.
  9. Jessica Korda - Jessica won twice in 2014, so why do I feel like she didn't have that great a year? It was because she contended very few times. Her 16th place finish on the money list, although the best of her young career, is not that impressive for a multiple winner.
  10. Paula Creamer - Just four top tens?  She usually has that many by March. That 75 foot putt she sank to win in Singapore, which gave her win #10, sure saved her season. Has she fully healed from her hand injury? Has all those years on tour started to take its toll? Has she been distracted because of her impending marriage? Still one of the most popular players in the history of the women's game, we will have to wait until next year to see if her #22 money list finish was just a fluke. 
  11. I.K. Kim - She just never seemed to show up all year, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. She only showed up for 18 tournaments, and wasn't much of a factor when she did tee it up, finishing #48 on the money list.
  12. Chella Choi -  How could it possibly be that Chella has not yet won an LPGA event? She had 10 top ten finishes and 20 top twenties. It will come soon and when it does she will improve on her 10th place money list finish.
  13. Beatriz Recari - I was way off on this one. After finishing #6 on the money list in 2013, I figured she would take a dip. I didn't think she would fall all the way to #53.
  14. Amy Yang - Amy didn't contend nearly as much as I would have thought she would. She finished in the #25 spot.
  15. Hee Young Park - With her sister on tour with her this year, maybe she can better her #40.
  16. Pornanong Phatlum - Another player who seems to contend weekly but never win. I was close though, as she finished #20.
  17. Caroline Hedwall - I seem to rate her much too high every year. Maybe she is not as good as I think she is. She finished in the #46 spot.
  18. Gerina Piller - Still looking for that first victory, she took a step back this year finishing #39.
  19. Lizette Salas - She did get her first win this year, but didn't contend enough. I was close to her actual finish at #24.
  20. Carlotta Ciganda - Has as much talent as anyone on tour, but never seems to be able to put it all together. She finished at #44.
  21. Karrie Webb - Karrie does this to me every year. She finished #8.
  22. Ai Miyazato - I don't feel too bad about this one because nobody could have predicted such a complete meltdown. You thought her #40 finish in 2013 was a bad year? She finished the year without a top ten, and wound up #86 on the money list.
  23. Anna Nordqvist - She started out real strong with two quick wins, then cooled off the rest of the season. Those wins were good enough for a 7th place finish on the money list.
  24. Angela Stanford - It was a typical Angela season as she finished in the #19 spot.
  25. Cristie Kerr - Christie didn't win in 2014, but her #15 finish was higher than Korda who won twice. She still has something left in the tank.
  26. Jodi Ewert-Shadoff -  Took 2 steps backward this past season as shown by her #52 finish.
  27. Karine Icher - Was close on this one as she finished in the #33 spot.
  28. Michelle Wie - Every year I predicted her to break out and she always disappointed me and made me look foolish. This year I gave in, and gave up on my high expectations of her. Of course she made me look foolish, finishing in the #4 spot.
  29. Morgan Pressel - Came on strong the last part of the season and finished in the #35 spot.
  30. Azahara Munoz - It was a big bounce back year for Azahara as she earned over 1 million dollars. Even though she is still looking for that first stroke play win, she was solid enough to finish at #9.
There you have it. Although it wasn't a complete disaster, I have had better years. I will be posting my predictions for the 2015 season very shortly.

Other Tidbits:
Now that the results of the Final Phase of Qualifying Tournament are known, it is going to be one hell of race for rookie of the year in 2015.

You have heard me say that the 2014 rookie crop was the best in quite sometime. The 2015 rookies might be the best ever! It will include 8 players that already ranked in the top 100 in the world.
Here they are listed according to their world ranking:

Hyo Joo Kim - Rolex Ranked #9 (Winner on LPGA Tour in 2014)
Kyu Ju Baek - #11 (Winner on LPGA Tour in 2014)
Ha Na Jang - #25
Charley Hull - #37
Sei Young Kim #40
Sakura Yokomine #44
Minjee Lee - #82
Ariya Jutanugarn - 91
Although there will be quite a number of American rookies in 2015, none of them are on the above list.

Laetitia Beck is the first Israeli to earn an LPGA playing card. 

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

LPGA Qualifying School: The Final Stage


The Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will be held Wednesday December 3 through Sunday December 7 at LPGA International - Jones & Hills Courses.

There will be 154 players in the field competing to earn LPGA membership for the 2015 season.


Update - Monday 12/8/14

Karlin Beck made a 75 foot chip shot on the 5th playoff hole of the day and the 11th in total, dating back to Sunday night, to earn the final Category 12 LPGA Card. Casey Grice was eliminated on the 10th playoff hole, and Stephanie Meadow was eliminated by Beck's chip shot on the 11th playoff hole.

Both Meadow and Grice have earned Category 17 LPGA Cards. Grice was the first round leader. Meadow, who finished third in the 2014 U.S. Open, figures to get a number of sponsor exemptions. She will have ample opportunities to improve her status during the LPGA reshuffles. 

Update - Sunday 12/7/14

Believe it or not, they have finished 5 rounds and 90 holes and it is still not over!
When 90 holes were completed there were 7 players tied for the 18th spot. Only 3 players of those 7 can get a fully exempt category 12 playing card, so they went to a 3 hole playoff. After that playoff only one player was eliminated, so on and on they went. After a few more playoff holes, 2 more players got in, leaving 3 players fighting for one spot. Of course it got dark. They will continue tomorrow morning.

Here is the list of the 19 players that have earned full time playing privileges in 2015:
1- Allison Lee -10
1- Mingee Lee -10
3- Ariya Jutanugarn - 9
3- Maria Hernandez - 9
5- Ryann O'Toole -8
6- Simin Feng - 7
6- Ha Na Jang -7 (Incredibly, she shot an 80 today and still got in)
9- Kelly Shon - 6
9- Nanette Hill -6
11- Cheyenne Woods - -5
11- Therese Koelbaek -5
11- Perrine Delacour -5
11- So Be Kim -5
11- Sakura Yokomine -5
11- Sofia Popov -5
11- Ju Young Park -5
18- Laetitea Beck -4 (Got in via playoff)
18- Garrett Philips -4 (Got in via playoff)

Here are the 3 players that will be fighting it out for the last spot tomorrow:
18- Karlin Beck -4
18- Stephanie Meadow -4
18- Casey Grice -4

Here are the players that have earned a category 17 LPGA card. They will have limited opportunities to get into playing fields next year. The players at the top of this list should get a few opportunities to get into the playing fields and will have to make the most of them to get reshuffled into a better position (like Kim Kaufman did in 2014). The players at the end of this list will have little or no opportunities to play this year on the LPGA Tour, and will probably be playing mostly Symetra Tour events.

21- Loser of the above playoff
22- Loser of the above playoff
23- Julie Yang (a) - Lost playoff
24- Jacqui Concolino - Lost playoff
25- Nontaya Srisawang -3
25- Daniella Iacobelli -3
25- Louise Stahle -3
28- ***Charley Hull -2
28- Natalie Sheary -2
28- Jeong Eun Lee -2
28- Rebecca Lee Bentham -2
28- Jean Reynolds -2
28- Lindy Duncan -2
34- Jing Yan (a) -1
35- Paolo Morena -Even
35- Victoria Elizabeth -Even
35- Celine Herbin -Even
35- Emma de Groot -Even
35- Jennifer Gleason -Even
35- Sophie Giquel -Even
35- Elizabeth Nagel -Even
35- Caroline Westrup -Even
43- Katy Harris +1
43- Marta Sanz Barrio +1
43- Giulia Molinaro +1

*** Charley Hull is the exception to my above explanation of category 17 playing opportunities.
Because of her "bigger than life" persona, and her status on the Ladies European Tour, Charley will get into quite a few tournaments this year. In addition to the normal amount of events she would get into because of her placement, expect her to get 6 more sponsor exemptions. In addition she has already qualified for several events based on her 2014 play.
 With all these opportunities, expect her to reshuffle into full time status very quickly.

Other notables that failed to earn there cards today, in addition to the players I listed yesterday.

52- Veronica Felibert +3
52- Kathleen Ekey +3
58- Emily Talley +4
64- Maude-Aimee Leblanc +5
64- Birdie Kim +5

Check back tomorrow for the playoff result. 

Update - Saturday 12/6/14 (Completion of round 4 of 5)

Ha Na Jang shot a 68 today to take a 3 stroke lead after the fourth round. She finished at 15 under par. Maria Hernandez is in second place at -12.

Other Notable scores:
Mingee Lee -11 (3rd place)
Alison Lee, Ju Young Park -10 (4th place)
Sei Young Kim, Sakura Yokomine - (9th place)
Stephanie Meadow - 7 (14th place)
Ryann O'Toole -6 (17th)
Jean Reynolds -4 (25th)
Cheyenne Woods, Rebecca Lee Bentham -3 (32nd place)
Emily Talley -2 (38th place)
Kathleen Ekey -1 (44th place)
Victoria Elizabeth -Even (54th place)
Veronica Felibert +1 (58th place)
Charley Hull, Maude-Aimee Leblanc +2 (68th place)

The following players were among the bigger named players that missed the 72 hole cut and will not be receiving a 2015 LPGA playing card.

Lori Kane +8
Sylvia Cavalleri +9
Valentine Derrey, Vicky Hurst +10
Chie Arimura +13
Madison Pressel, CindyLaCrosse +15


Madison Pressel (R) will be trying to join her sister Morgan on the LPGA Tour

Players who finish in the top 20 will earn category 12 Priority List membership. This means that they will get to play in all full field LPGA tournaments. Players finishing 21-45 will get category 17 membership, which amounts to conditional playing privileges. The players in category 17 usually do not get into many LPGA events and will probably spend most of the 2015 season playing in Symetra Tour events. Only 3 category 17 players managed to retain their cards this year (Kim Kaufman, Joanna Klatten, and Lee Anne Pace) as a result of their LPGA accomplishments.

There will be a cut on Saturday after 72 holes are completed. The top 70 and ties will advance to the final round on Sunday.

There are just four ways that a player earned entry into the field this week:
  • By finishing in the top 80 of qualifying School phase 2.
  • By finishing 11-30 on the 2014 Symetra Tour money list.
  • If they are currently ranked in the top 40 of the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings.
  • Had 2014 LPGA Tour membership.
This will be one of the strongest fields in history, as it will include 3 players who are ranked in the top 40 in the world, and 3 players who have posted a top 10 finish on the LPGA in 2014.

Three Players in the Top 40 of the Rolex Rankings:
  1. Ha Na Jang - Currently at #25 in the Rolex Rankings, She finished in a tie for third at the 2014 Evian Championship.
  2. Charley Hull - Currently #37 in the Rolex Rankings, she finished tied for third at the Airbus LPGA Classic, and tied for 7th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
  3. Sei Young Kim - Currently #43 in the Rolex Rankings, she played 5 LPGA events in 2014, but failed to finish higher than 40th place.
Sakura Yokomine (44), Minjee Lee (82), Ariya Jutanugarn (91), and Valentine Derrey (100) are also ranked in the top 100 in the world rankings.

The following players who are in the field, have previously won on the LPGA Tour.
  1. Lori Kane - Lori won  four times during the 2000 LPGA season.
  2. Birdie Kim - She won the 2005 U.S. Women's Open Championship.
  3. Sylvia Cavalleri - She won the 2007 Corona Championship
Other Notable Players in the Field:
  1. Stephanie Meadow - She finished third at the 2014 U.S. Women's Open Championship, and is trying to become the first LPGA member from Northern Ireland.
  2. Cheyenne Woods - She was a winner this year on the Ladies Europeon Tour. She failed in her attempt to get her card last year when she missed the 72 hole cut.
  3. Alison Lee - She was the WGCA Freshman of the year at UCLA. She also had the lowest scoring average (71.02) in the country. She finished 4th at stage one, and solo 2nd at stage 2.
Three Players Trying to Join Their Sisters on LPGA Tour:
  1. Madison Pressel - Will be trying to join her sister Morgan.
  2. Ariya Jutanugarn - Hoping to join sister Moriya on the LPGA Tour.
  3. Ju Young Park - She will be attempting to play beside her sister (Hee Young).
Past medalists (finishing in first place) of LPGA Final Stage include: Paula Creamer, Ai Miyazato and Stacy Lewis. Jaye Marie Green was the 2013 winner, with a record breaking score of -25.

Other Facts & Figures:

There will be fifty-one 2014 LPGA Tour members in the field. They include players such as Ryann O'Toole, Kathleen, Ekey, Vicky Hurst, Cindy LaCrosse, and Veronica Felibert, who are trying to regain their playing cards.

There will be 54 Symetra Tour players in the field.

Their will be 32 countries represented this week including the United States.

The state of Florida has 16 players teeing it up.

There will be 12 amateurs in the field.

Lori Kane's 99 top ten finishes on the LPGA tour is the most (by far) of any 2014 Q-School participant. 

Here are the pairings for the first round.

Be sure to check back here for any updates. I will post results when rounds are completed.


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