Way back in March I sat down and wrote who I thought were my biggest surprises and disappointments of the year. The LPGA had only played 5 tournaments at that point. So much has changed since then. The LPGA has now completed 15 of its 28 tournaments, and I would like to take another look.
1- Inbee Park - I didn't have her on my earlier list because I picked her before the season started to be the player of the year. The fact that she had an early victory wasn't really surprising. What has happened since has been just plain astonishing. Inbee has not only won 6 times already this year, but she has won the first 3 major championships of the year.
2- Jessica Korda - It sure seems like she has been on the first page of the leader board in just about every tournament she has played this year. She has not been able to play back to back tournaments as of late because of a sore wrist, but that hasn't hampered her results. In only 12 starts, Jessica has 3 top fives, 5 top tens, and 7 top twenty finishes. At the very young age of 20, she is this year's most improved golfer.
3- Beatriz Recari - In my opinion, Beatriz has now taken over the title of Spain's best player.
Three top 5's, 4 top tens, and 8 top twenties this season is the reason why.
4- Lizette Salas - Has cooled off just a bit as of late, resulting in a drop from #2 on my earlier list. A sure shot to qualify for this year's Solheim Cup via her #19 world ranking, Lizette has 2 top fives, 4 top tens, and 7 top twenties so far this year.
5- Caroline Hedwall - After splitting her time between the LPGA and the L.E.T last year, Caroline has increased her LPGA play this year with delightful results. In 14 starts she has a top five, 3 top tens, and 5 top twenty finishes.
Honorable mentions go out to Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Gerina Piller.
1- Momoko Ueda - As she was on my earlier list, Momoko is easily the biggest disappointment of the year, as her results have been just plain awful. In 11 starts this year she has yet to finish in the top 35. It has gotten worse as the season has progressed. In her last 5 starts she has missed 3 cuts, with her best finish being a tie for 60th place. Currently she is struggling to stay in the top 100 on the money list.
2- Yani Tseng - After a good start to the season, Yani has become just another player in the field, and not a very good one at that. In her last 11 starts her best finish has been a tie for 19th place. She started the year with the number one ranking in the world, and has now dropped to #8. A ranking outside the top 10 is a very realistic scenario in the very near future.
3- Vicky Hurst - Came onto the LPGA in 2009 with the "can't miss" label, but hasn't come close to living up to those expectations. In 15 tournaments this year she has just one finish in the top twenty. Still young enough to figure it out, but will she?
4- Azahara Munoz - Azahara had been improving with each season, until this year. In 15 starts she has only managed one top ten. It has gotten worse as of late; a tie for 32nd is her best finish in her last 5 starts.
5- Candie Kung - After a decent start it has all gone wrong for Candie. In her last 10 starts she has missed 5 cuts, and her best finish is a tie for 44th place.
Dishonorable mentions go out to Belen Mozo, Sophie Gustafson, and Katherine Hull-Kirk.