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Rating the Rookies 2013 - Part 1

With the LPGA season about 50% complete (13 of 28 tournaments have been played), I would like to take a look at how the rookies are faring so far this year. I will do this again at the 75% mark and a final time at the end of the season. These ratings are strictly based on how they fared in LPGA events only. Any successes or failures on other tours are not considered here. My main objective here is to analyze the chances of these rookies retaining their LPGA cards next season. Ideally you would like to finish in the top 80 on the money list. That will guarantee you a priority list ranking good enough to compete in all full-field events. If you finish further down the money list you then have to worry about the top 10 ladies coming off the Symetra Tour, and qualifying school graduates getting to play ahead of you. If you finish in the top 100 on this year's money list, you will still play in most events next year. Further down the list than that, there are no guarantees about playing time. Let us see how they are doing so far.

In alphabetical order:

Marina Alex -  Because of her low priority list ranking, she has played in only 2 tournaments. Has not taken advantage of those chances as she missed the cut in both.  Grade Incomplete

Chie Arimura - My pick for rookie of the year, she has made me look bad for most of the season. Her 5th place finish at the Shoprite Classic has saved her season so far, with that being her only top 20 finish of the year. She joined the LPGA this year as a player already ranked # 19 in the world, with more than a dozen international career wins. Currently #4 in the rookie of the year race and #54 on the money list, her LPGA card would appear to be safe, but a disappointment so far this year nonetheless. Grade C+

Julia Boland - Julia has had plenty of chances this year, but has had very little success. She has missed 7 of 10 cuts and stands #8 in the Rookie of the Year race. Her best finish was a T24 at the Kingsmill Championship. Her current standing of #110 on the money list means she better turn it around quickly to avoid Q-school. Grade D

Frances Bondad - With only 3 starts because of her low priority ranking, she has failed to take advantage missing all 3 cuts. She must take advantage of any future starts or lose her card. Grade Incomplete

Katie Burnett - Katie is the perfect example of how you can succeed here even with a low priority ranking.
Katie did not get into any of the first 8 tournaments of the year. She took advantage of her first opportunity and finished T12 at the Kingsmill Championship. It could not have come at a better time for her as the priority list reshuffle took place after that tournament, moving her up into a position to now play regularly. She followed that up with a top 25 finish at the Mobile Bay Classic. Currently #7 in the ROY race, she has already moved up to #96 on the money list. A pleasant surprise. Grade C

Esther Choe - The 2012 Symetra Tour Player of the Year has been a monumental disappointment. Coming here with big expectations, she has yet to make a cut in any of her six starts.  Grade F

Perrine Delacour - Failed to make the cut in her only appearance.  Grade Incomplete

Brianna Do - Has not had a start yet this year. Grade Incomplete

Lauren Doughtie - A four year veteran of the Symetra Tour, Lauren finally got her playing card this year in a playoff at Q-School. She has teed it up almost every week this year, but has failed to make any sort of positive impression thus far. She has missed 7 of 10 cuts, with her best finish being a T43. Currently she is #11 in the ROY race, but more importantly sitting at #120 on the money list.  Grade D-

Paz Echeverria - She has teed it up 4 times this year, and unlike Ms. Burnett above, has failed to improve her status. Making only one cut, with that being a T34, her time is running out. She currently ranks # 140 on the money list. Grade D-

Victoria Elizabeth - Victoria finished in 3rd place last year on the Symetra Tour money list and came here with pretty high expectations. Her year so far has been nothing short of disastrous. She has played in 9 tournaments, and missed all nine cuts. Grade F

Breanna Elliot - Has only appeared in 2 tournaments this year, but has made the cut in both. Unfortunately her best finish this year of T42, has not netted her much money. Currently # 130 on the money list, she needs to not only make cuts but finish higher than she has. Grade Incomplete

Marita Engzelius - Missed the cut in both her starts. Grade Incomplete

Austin Ernst - A huge star at LSU and member of the 2012 U.S. Curtis Cup Team, Austin has entered the LPGA with very high expectations. So far we have seen mixed results. Currently 6th in ROY race, she has made 5 cuts in her 11 starts this season. She does have 2 finishes in the 20's, and 2 more in the 30's, showing us the talent is there. Her current ranking of #84 on the money list has put her in good position thus far for next year. Look for her to get better in the second half. Grade C

Jordan Hardy - Has made just one start this year, missing the cut. Grade Incomplete

Daniela Iacobelli - Has had many chances to impress this year but has failed to do so. Daniela has missed 8 of her 10 cuts, with her best finish a T29 at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup. Currently 117th on the money list, her results need to improve fast. Grade D

Kelly Jacques - Missed the cut in both her starts this year. Grade Incomplete

Felicity Johnson - With 2 victories and 10 L.E.T top tens. Felicity was supposed to be one of the strongest rookies of this 2013 crop. That hasn't happened. She has managed to make just 2 of 10 cuts, with her best finish a T65 at the North Texas Shootout. Currently #142 on this year's money list, Felicity might be headed back to the L.E.T sooner than expected. Grade F

Sara-Maude Juneau - There have been many opportunities for this Canadian to make her mark, but she has failed to be a factor in any tournament this year. Missing 7 of 10 cuts, with a best finish of T54, she must improve quickly if she wants to retain her playing card. Currently # 126 on the money list. Grade D-

Moriya Jutanugarn - Started out quickly with a 4th place finish at the ISPS Australian Open. A bunch of solid finishes after that put her so far in front in the ROY race that it appeared she would run away with it.  Only 1 top 20 in her last 6 starts has brought her back to the field. All in all she is still having a solid rookie season, has made 9 of 11 cuts, and is #33 on the money list. Her sister Ariya gets all the attention, and rightfully so, but Moriya is a very strong player also. Look for her to be a fixture on this tour for years to come. Grade A-

Taylore Karl - It has been a lost season so far for Taylore. She has missed 8 of 9 cuts, and the only cut she made she finished T71. Currently #149 on the money list, retaining her playing card is looking dismal. Grade F

Sue Kim - Sue has made the cut in 2 of the 3 tournaments she has been in this year. Her best finish was a T34 at the Mobile Bay Classic. Her low priority list rating will not get her into many more events. Currently #128 on the money list. Grade Incomplete

Jiayun Li, Inhong Lim & Alejandra Llaneza - Jiayun and Inhong have only played one tournament, and Alejandra has played in two. They have all failed to make a cut this year. Grade Incomplete

Caroline Masson - One of the top players on the L.E.T, Caroline came to the LPGA wearing the "can't miss" label on her back. Already ranked in the top 50 in the world, Caroline not only won on the L.E.T last year, but also had 3 runner up finishes. She has had a strange year so far. The downside is she has missed 6 of 10 cuts this year. The upside is the 4 times she has made the cut she has been on the weekend leader board, and finished in the top 15 each time. Currently #2, and closing in fast, in the ROY standings, Caroline sits at #52 on the money list. At 24 years of age she is a future star. Grade B+

Lisa McCloskey - A four time All-American at USC, and a member of the 2012 Curtis Cup Team, we all figured she might be a player to watch. Lisa has lived up to her billing making 6 of 10 cuts, and finishing T19 at the Mobile Bay Classic. She is currently #5 in the ROY race and # 80 on the money list. After a slow start that saw her miss 4 of her first 5 cuts, Lisa has turned it around making 5 consecutive cuts. Look for her to get stronger as the season progresses. Grade C+

Haley Milsap - Missed both cuts in the tournaments she has played in. Grade Incomplete

Kayla Mortellaro - Has not taken advantage of her playing time. Missing 7 of 10 cuts, with a best finish of T54 is not going to be good enough to play out here again next year. Currently #132 on the money list, time is running out. Grade D

Stephanie Na - One tournament, one missed cut. Grade Incomplete

Brooke Pancake - Accomplished about everything you could accomplish during her years at the University at Alabama, and with such an unforgettable name, how could you not root for this girl? The rooting has not helped. After making her first 2 cuts the wheels have come off, as she has now missed 7 cuts in a row. Has the talent to break out at any time (Sydney Michaels, after a similar start, broke out last year). Nonetheless she has disappointed mightily so far and must turn it around to avoid Q-School. She is currently # 137 on the money list. Grade D

Garrett Phillips - Missed the cut in her only tournament. Grade Incomplete

Nicole Smith - Played well on the Symetra tour last year with 5 top 10 finishes. She also led that tour in greens in regulation, hitting 75% of her greens. Unfortunately she has not brought any of that success to the LPGA. Missing 8 of 10 cuts, with a best finish of T54, her #144 ranking on the money list has her in real trouble. Grade D-

Marina Stuetz - Well my ROY pick (Chie Arimura), is certainly looking better than Judy Rankin's. Judy picked Marina at the beginning of the season and it's starting to look like a curse. Marina has played in 8 tournaments this year and missed 8 cuts. Grade F

Ayako Uehara - She entered this season as the #69 ranked player in the world, with 3 victories on the JLPGA. Coming from the same town as both Ai and Mika Miyazato, she has all the tools to succeed on the LPGA tour. She is currently #3 in the ROY standings, and would probably be higher if she played more tournaments. Ayaka has missed just one cut in 7 tournaments this year, with her best finish a T19 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Currently #62 on the money list, look for that to improve as she plays more. Grade B


  1. Tony,

    Do you know if Ariya is going to try and Monday qualify for the Walmart next week?

  2. Ariya is out 2-4 weeks with a bum shoulder. Uehara's first name is Ayako. Kaneko is Ayaka.
    Mr G

  3. Anytime Tony. I love your blog. Keep up the good work.
    Mr G

  4. Masson and Wie are almost the same age and have had almost identical seasons. I see no reason not to be as enthusiastic about the future for Wie as for Masson.


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