Monday, December 2, 2013

Rating the Rookies Part 3 - Final Analysis

First let me say that this has not been a very good year for LPGA rookies. In fact, it may be the poorest in quite some time.

There were 35 rookies who started the 2013 season with lots of hope of establishing themselves. The sad fact is, that only 8 of them retained their playing cards as a result of their 2013 performance on the LPGA tour. That's right, just 22.8%. That is down from 36.3% last year, when 12 of 33 rookies retained their playing cards. Three other players retained their playing cards because of their play on the Symetra Tour this year, and 2 did in 2012.

Below are my final ratings for all 2013 rookies. These ratings are strictly based on how they fared on the LPGA tour this season. Any successes or failures on other tours (excluding the Symetra Tour), are not considered here. Success in retaining their LPGA tour cards was the determining factor for my final ratings.

The Best:
1- Moriya Jutanugarn - The 2013 Rookie of the Year had a very good start to the 2013 season, then faded very badly in the second half. In 24 starts she had just 1 top ten finish, and that was in her first tournament of the year. She finished #47 on the money list.

2- Caroline Masson - Caroline seemed to have the Rookie of the Year award all sewn up, until she broke her thumb and lost it by the narrowest of margins. In 22 starts she has 2 top tens, and 6 top 20 finishes. She finished # 48 on the money list.

3- Ayaka Uehara - Ayaka could very easily have won the Rookie of the Year award if she bothered to show up to more LPGA events. Of all the 2013 rookies, she easily won the most money per event entered. She only played in 16 of a possible 28 events, and still managed to finish #58 on the money list.

Consider Them a Success:
4- Chie Arimura -  Chie was my pre-season Rookie of the Year pick. Although she was never in danger of losing her card, Chie was my biggest rookie disappointment of the year.
In 20 starts she had 3 top ten finishes, but missed seven cuts. She failed to even register a top 50 finish in her last 7 starts. She finished #130 on tour in driving distance and 85th in putting average, not a great combination. Still, she managed to finish #61 on the money list. 

5- Austin Ernst - In 23 starts, Austin had 2 top ten finishes and missed 10 cuts. She did not come into the season with the expectations of the 4 names above her, but easily retained her card by finishing #72 on the money list.

6- Lisa McCloskey - In 20 starts this year she did not have a top ten finish. What she did have going for her is she did receive a paycheck in 14 of those starts, enabling her to finish # 78 on the money list. 

Just Barely Good Enough:
7- Brooke Pancake - Known mostly because of her very unique last name, Brooke was a very popular player on tour in 2013. Unfortunately, she didn't have a very good season. At one point she actually missed 9 cuts in 10 tournaments. Overall she made just 6 of 17 possible cuts. Fortunately, she had a 13th place finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship that saved her season. She just squeaked in at #98 on the money list, and retained her full time playing privileges for next year.

8- Katie Burnett - A very poor Priority Rating at the beginning of the year prevented her from getting into any tournaments. When she finally got her chance she made the most of it with a 12th place finish at the Kingsmill Championship. That finish enabled her to better her Priority Rating on first LPGA re-shuffle, and managed to get into 11 tournaments. Missing only 4 cuts, she finished #99 on the money list and retained her full time card by the narrowest of margins.

Note: The top 100 finishes on the LPGA money list retain their playing privileges and will play in most full field events. They will not be effected by any Priority List reshuffles. If you finish 101-125, although you don't lose your card, you are not guaranteed as many starts. If you're #101 (Kathleen Ekey this year) you are still pretty safe, #125 will be playing the Symetra tour more than the LPGA. Numbers 101-125 are also subject to the Priority List reshuffle, which the LPGA has twice a year, where you can improve your position if you play well.

Retaining Their Card Through the Symetra Tour:
Although the LPGA gives out several cards after the final stage of Qualifying School, if you are not a top 20 finisher it is almost like not getting a card at all. You will find yourself playing on the Symetra Tour, hoping to finish in the top 10 on that money list to get a full time LPGA card. That was the case with the following 3 players.

1- Sue Kim - Sue did manage to get seven LPGA starts, but only made one cut. Her finish of #140 on the LPGA money list meant she would have lost her card had she not finished #6 on the Symetra Tour.

2- Marina Alex - Playing in just 3 LPGA tournaments, Marina didn't make a single penny. Her third place finish on the Symetra Tour means she will not only keep her card, but will be playing full time next year.

3- Perrine Delacour - Her 8th place finish on the Symetra Tour money list will enable her to play full time on the LPGA next year. She only played one LPGA event this year, and missed the cut.

They Are Going Back to Qualifying School:
The following players failed to finish in the top 125 on the money list (except the one noted player), and have lost their playing cards for 2014. They have all registered for stage 3 of Qualifying School which will be played December 4th through December 8th. There are 154 registered players who will be fighting for those top 20 spots.

Julia Boland - She is the one player on this list who technically has not lost her playing card. Knowing her #122 finish on the money list will get her very few starts, she has registered for Q-School.
Daniela Iacobelli - Made only 2 of 15 cuts. Finished #130 on money list.
Sara-Maude Juneau - Made 4 of 15 cuts. Finished #131 on money list.
Lauren Doughtie - Made 3 of 15 cuts. Finished #133 on money list.
Paz Echeverria - Made just 2 of 9 cuts. Finished #134 on money list.
Frances Bondad - Missed all 6 cuts.
Esther Choe - Missed all 11 cuts.
Brianna Do - Missed the cut in her only appearance.
Breanna Elliot - Made 2 of 7 cuts. Finished #141 on money list.
Victoria Elizabeth - Made just 1 of 12 cuts. Finished #154 on money list.
Marita Enzelius - Missed all 4 cuts.
Jordan Hardy - Missed her only cut.
Kelly Jacques - Made just 1 cut in 5 starts. Finished #156 on money list.
Taylore Karl - Made just 1 of 14 cuts. Finished #155 on money list.
Jiayun Li - Missed cut in the 2 tournaments she played in. Finished # 156 on money list.
Alejandra Llaneza - Failed to make any official money in her 3 starts.
Haley Milsap - Missed all 3 cuts.
Stephanie Na - Missed both her cuts.
Garrett Phillips - Missed the cut in her only event.
Nicole Smith - Number 1 in driving distance on tour didn't help. Finished #150 on money list.
Marina Stuetz - Judy Rankin's pick for R.O.Y. didn't make a cut in 11 tournaments.

Giving Up LPGA?
Felicity Johnson - Already a star on the L.E.T., Felicity had a miserable rookie year on the LPGA. She missed 11 cuts in 17 starts and finished #114 on the money list. Although she will still have a card, she doesn't figure to get many starts in 2014. She did not register for Q-School, so my best guess is she may be playing mostly in Europe again next year.

Kayla Mortellaro - She did make 11 starts, but missed 8 cuts. Her #143 finish on the LPGA means she lost her card. She did not register for Q-School.


  1. And as tough a rookie season as most of the '13ers had, imagine how tough it'll be for Class of '14 hopefuls to beat them out at Q-School!

    1. I guess that is not saying much for the 2014 crop. It would have been different if Ariya Jutanugarn was healthy enough to compete, and Charlie Hull didn't put it off for another year.

  2. Wow! Thanks for your amazing research.

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  4. A great review! Its not easy to be among the best but these girls got there which is no small achievement.
    Godd luck to them in the future.


  5. Good review. A couple of notes... Stuetz is not at Q School (skiing in Austria this week). Mortallero has a medical exemption for 2014 (shoulder surgery).

  6. Thanks Dave. Hope you are having a great time down there.