Sunday, March 31, 2013

Can the United States Halt Asian Dominance in the Majors?

The LPGA will be playing its first major championship this week. It will be the first of five major championships this year. The Evian Championship has been upgraded to a major this year, giving the LPGA 5 majors for the first time.

Rancho Mirage, California will be the location this week for the the LPGA's first major championship.
I will have more on this championship in the next few days, for now let's look at some recent history.

The United States has struggled mightily in recent years, as Asia has dominated the victory circle of major championships. Here is a look at major winners dating back to the year 2000.

Year    Kraft Nabisco      LPGA Championship      U.S. Open             British Open  
2012    Sun Young Yoo     Shanshan Feng                  Na Yeon Choi        Jiyai Shin
2011    Stacy Lewis           Yani Tseng                        So Yeon Ryu         Yani Tseng
2010    Yani Tseng             Cristie Kerr                       Paula Creamer       Yani Tseng
2009    B. Lincicome          Anna Nordqvist                 Eun-Hee Ji             C. Matthew
2008    Lorena Ochoa        Yani Tseng                        Inbee Park              Jiyai Shin
2007    M. Pressel              S. Pettersen                      Cristie Kerr             L. Ochoa
2006    Karrie Webb          Se Ri Pak                         A. Sorenstam          S.Steinhauer
2005    A. Sorenstam         A. Sorenstam                    Birdie Kim              Jeong Jang
2004    Grace Park            A. Sorenstam                    Meg Mallon            K. Stupples
2003    P. M. Lebouc         A. Sorenstam                    Hilary Lunke           A. Sorenstam
2002    A. Sorenstam         Se Ri Pak                         Julie Inkster             Karrie Webb
2001    A. Sorenstam         Karrie Webb                    Karrie Webb           Se Ri Pak
2000    Karrie Webb          Julie Inkster                      Karrie Webb           Meg Mallon

Now let me break that down further by country:

South Korea - 13 wins
United States - 12 wins
Sweden - 9 wins (8 by Annika Sorenstam)
Australia - 6 wins (5 by Karrie Webb)
Taiwan - 5 wins  (all by Yani Tseng)
Mexico -2 wins
France - 1 win
England - 1 win
Norway - 1 win
Scotland - 1 win
Mainland China - 1 win

Over that 13 year period victories were spread out to 11 different countries, with no country really being dominant. As you could see, one dominant player could vault your country quite high in the standings.
Sweden with 9 victories, accomplished that with only 2 players winning for that country. On the other hand, South Korea's 13 victories were accumulated by 10 different players, and the United States 9.
The continent of Asia accounted for 19 wins, or 36.5%, The United States accounted for 23%.

Now let me break this down even further:

2000 - 2007 (8 year period):

Sweden - 9 wins
United States - 8 wins
South Korea - 6 wins
Australia - 6 wins
Mexico - 1 winsEngland - 1 win
France - 1 win

Still no dominance shown here by any one country. Annika Sorenstam was certainly the dominate player with 8 wins. The continent of Europe accounted for 11 wins, or 34.4%, leading the way over this period. The United States followed with 25%. Asia was third with 18.75%.

Now let me show you the most recent history, the last 5 years. This is where things have drastically changed:

2008 - 2012 (last 5 years)

South Korea - 7 wins
Taiwan - 5 wins
United States - 4 wins
Mainland China - 1
Norway - 1
Scotland - 1
Mexico -1

Now here is where Asia has become the dominant country in major championships. They have accounted for 65% of the victories over this period. The United States could only manage to win 20%.
To make matters worse for the United States, they have failed to win any of the last seven majors, with Asia winning them all.

Can the Asian countries continue thier dominance in 2013? Sure they can, but it will be more difficult because of the following reasons:

1- With 5 majors this year, there are more opportunities for other countries to shake things up.
2- Stacy Lewis has emerged as the top player in the world and could be a dominant factor.
3- Yani Tseng, who has contributed 5 of Asia's 13 wins over that 5 year period, isn't her dominant self.
4- Spain may very well be ready to break through and get their first major or two.

My prediction:

With great players such as Na-Yeon Choi, Inbee Park, Jiyai Shin, and So Yeon Ryu, South Korea is still the country to beat. That said, The United States has the most dominant player, and players such as Kerr and Creamer can't be counted out. They also have young players such as Jessica Korda, Gerina Mendoza, Danielle Kang, and Lizette Salas, who are coming in hot and could surprise. I think Spain will get that first major this year. When all is said and done I see 2 trophies being held up by the U.S. and South Korea, and one for Spain.

Other Major Facts:

In spite of the success by other Asian countries, Japan has not won a major championship since Chako, Higuchi in 1977. Ai Miyazato has not broken through as of  yet

Sandra Post won Canada's last major in 1968.

Friday, March 29, 2013

International Crown Update

Back in January, LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan made what I think was the most important announcement of his entire tenure as Commissioner. He announced the details of a new tournament, beginning in 2014, called the International Crown. What made this so different from the several other new tournaments that he had previously announced? It gives all players, no matter what country they are from, the chance to represent their country in an Olympic type event.

Before this was announced the only competition between countries that the LPGA had on its schedule was the Solheim Cup. A competition between the United States and Europe. As a resident of the United States, it was my favorite tournament of the year. At the tournament's completion, it always made me sad that we had to wait two more years before it would be played again. But in truth, I was lucky that at least I got to see my country play. That could not be said for fans of players from South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, and many other countries whose players could not compete.

Why shouldn't players like Ai Miyazato, Na Yeon Choi, Yani Tseng, and Pornanong Phatlum have an oppurtunity to play for their countries? Surely they are amongst the top players in the world.

With the announcement of the International Crown, all that has changed. Every country will now have a chance to compete. The tournament will be played on even numbered years, while the Solheim cup will continue to be played on odd numbered years.

"The final field of eight countries will be determined by the combined Rolex World Ranking of the top four players from each country as of the Rolex World Rankings published at the conclusion of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders." (Countries must have a minimum of four ranked players to be eligible.)

"The final field of 32 players will be determined after the Rolex World Rankings are published on the Monday of the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship week. At this point, the top-4 ranked players from each pre-qualified country will make up their respective country’s team."

This makes it very interesting because at the completion of the 2013 LPGA season, we will know who the 8 countries that are competing are, but we will have to wait until well into the 2014 season to know who the players are that will represent their respective countries. In fact a player playing well in 2013 could help get their country in, but not make the team themself  for playing poorly at the start of the 2014 season. Personally I think this is a stroke of genius on the commissioner's part. Not only will be watching carefully at the end of this year to make sure our country gets in, but we will be following closely the following year rooting for our favorite players to get in.

Now it's time to take a look at the standings as they are today. Which countries would qualify as of right now. Here is a listing of the top eight countries with their top players' Rolex Ranking in parenthesis:

1- Korea - N.Y. Choi (3), Inbee Park (4), Jiyai Shin (7), So Yeon Ryu (8) = 23
2- United States - Stacy Lewis (1), Cristie. Kerr (10), Paula Creamer (12), Brittany Lincicome (18) = 41
3- Japan - Ai Miyazato (6), Mika Miyazato (11), Chie Arimura (22), Rikako Morita (36) = 75
4- Australia - Karrie Webb (14), Katherine Hull-Kirk (63), Lindsay Wright (65), Stacey Keating (68) = 210
5- Spain - Azahara Munoz (16), Beatriz Recari (26), Carlota Ciganda (41), Belen Mozo (145) = 228
6- Sweden - Anna Nordqvist (30), Caroline Hedwall (39), Karin Sjodin (83), Maria Hjorth (97) = 249
7- Taiwan - Yani Tseng (2), Candie Kung (50), Teresa Lu (98), Hsuan-Yu Yao (182) = 332
8- Thailand - Ariya Jutanugarn (42), Pornanong Phatlum (52), Nontaya Srisawang (147), Moira Jutanugarn (176) = 417

Those are the countries that would be in as of today.

England would not be included, their team of Melissa Reid, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Karen Stupples, and Trish Johnson would be 9th. France is currently 10th, Italy 11th, and China 12th.

I think everyone might see this as a two team competition The U.S. and Korea. Think again! I sure don't want to have to play Spain. If Belen Mozo improves her ranking as expected, they will be fighting for the #3 spot.

There are other rules involving brackets, scoring, wild cards, etc., that we can get into as the tournament date approaches. But for now I think we all have something special to look forward to. I will keep everyone updated in future blogs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Surprises and Disappointments 2013 - Part 1

As I sit down to write this I am completely exhausted from watching the conclusion of the Kia Classic. It just doesn't get much more exciting than that.  Beatriz Recari defeated I.K. Kim on the second hole of a playoff. The 18th hole at the Avira Golf Club is one of the best finishing holes in all of golf. Your drive is threatened by water all the way up the right side. If you miss your approach shot to the green to the right, there is a water hazard. Miss it to the left and getting it up and down is nearly impossible. Landing it on the green is no sure bet for par either, as the 2 tiered green led to 3 putts all day long. Both I.K. Kim and Beatriz Recari just needed to two putt for a win in regulation, but neither one could. On to 18 they went again for the first playoff hole. They hit the green in two, but they both 3 putted once again, and on they went to play 18 for a third straight time. I.K. then hit the green in regulation, and Beatrice almost went into the hazard on the right, leaving her with 4 feet of grass to putt through. I.K. putted first and just missed, leaving her with a tap in for par. Beatriz would now have to get down in two to keep play alive. Her putt then went through the four feet of grass and another 13 feet of green to land square in the center of the cup.

For Beatriz, it was the second win of her young career. For Kim, who missed winning her first major championship last year when she missed a 14 inch putt, it was another devastating loss.

For more on Beatriz's victory see the Constructivist's story over at Mostly Harmless,  and read about her swing at Ruthless Golf.

On to today's topic. Although the LPGA has only completed 5 of the 28 tournaments on the 2013 schedule, I don't think it is too early to see who the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments are so far this year. I will revisit this after the 15th tournament, and again at year's end.

Biggest Surprises:

1- Beatriz Recari - A rookie in 2010, she has gotten better every year. Beatriz had her best year in 2012, finishing #32 on the money list. With all the great talent on the LPGA tour, matching that in 2013 was going to be a challenge. Who could have expected this? She has three top 5 finishes already this year, which is only matched by Stacy Lewis. She is currently #2 on this year's money list, topped only by Lewis.

2- Lizette Salas - A year ago at this time most of us didn't have a clue who she was. We surely do know now. There was so much talk about So Yeon Ryu and Lexi Thompson joining the LPGA as rookies last year that nobody really noticed that Lizette finished third in the Rolex Rookie Rankings. In 5 starts this year, she has 3 top tens and four top twenty finishes. She is currently #8 on this year's money list.

3- Jessica Korda - Always overshadowed as a teenager by Lexi Thompson, that is not the case anymore.
Jessica shocked the world last year by winning the Australian Open, but then played mediocre golf for most of the rest of the year. This year, the now 20 year old, is off to a blazing start. In five starts she has 2 top ten finishes and four top twenties. Currently #11 on the money list, look for Jessica to be a top player for many years to come.

4- Gerina Piller - A rookie in 2010, and known then as Gerina Mendoza, she hardly made any noise at all her first two years on the tour. A good second half last year led her to a 48th place standing on the money list. I for one wondered if it was just a hot streak, or if she would continue that good play in 2013. I wonder no more. Gerina, one of the longest hitters on the tour, has already had two top ten finishes this year. In fact she has finished in the top 25 four times in 5 starts. Currently #19 on the money list, look for those massive drives to lead to a lot more cash.

5- Danielle Kang - I look at Danielle much in the same way I did Stacy Lewis 3 years ago. I see so much talent ready to just explode. A rookie last season, Danielle took advantage of limited opportunities and still managed to finish 52nd on the money list. This two time amateur champion is off to an even better start this year. She followed up her 19th place finish in Thailand with a top 5 finish in Singapore. At 20 years old she still needs a bit more experience, but I look for her to join the "elite" very soon.

Honorable mentions go out to Nicole Castrale and Pornanong Phatlum.

Biggest Disappointments:

1- Momoko Ueda - Just two short years ago, Momoko was one of the most consistent players on the LPGA tour. What has happened? Momoko went the entire 2012 season without a top ten finish. Still managing to finish #58 on the money list, it appeared she had to get better in 2013. That certainly has not been the case this year, as she has not finished higher than a tie for 52nd place.

2- Michelle Wie - At what point does she fall off this list not because she is playing better, but because our expectations of her are so low she is no longer a disappointment? Once one of the top players on the tour, Michelle hit rock bottom last year, or so we thought, finishing 64th on the money list. This year she has already missed 3 cuts. No LPGA player has missed more. She can't hit her drives straight, she is missing greens at an alarming pace, and her putting is hard to watch. Other than that she is doing fine. At 23 years old, it is time for Michelle to start controlling her own life before it is to late. Being loyal to people is admirable, but only to a certain point. A coaching change has to be made soon. I'm thinking that bringing on Butch Harmon could resurrect her career.

3- Chie Arimura - Asian players coming to the LPGA tour after being quite successful on their own tours, has been the formula practically every year for winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award. Jiyai Shin in 2009, Hee Kyung Seo in 2011, and So Yeon Ryu in 2012, are a few examples. Chie came on to the LPGA this year as the the 20th ranked player in the entire world. Sure she would be the next Rookie of the Year winner. Not so fast. Her best finish so far is a tie for 28th. Maybe she will turn this around as there is still plenty of time, but I see some obvious problems with her game. The LPGA is loaded with big hitters, and she is not one of them. In fact she is currently 116th in driving distance. Time will tell if she can overcome that big disadvantage.

4- Karin Sjodin - In her 7th season season on tour, Karin had a breakout season in 2012. That has not been the case this season. In 5 starts her best finish is a tie for 37th, and she has already missed 3 cuts.

5- Brittany Lang - Not normally a slow starter, Brittany has been quite awful this year. She has not finished better than 37th and has already missed 2 cuts.

Dishonorable mentions: Sun Young Yoo, Julietta Granada, and Hee Young Park.

Titleholders Update:
I.K. Kim, Pornanong Phatlum, and Mo Martin are the latest to qualify.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:

Not much action in the top ten this week as Paula Creamer enters at #10, and Stacy Lewis increases her hold on #1. Outside the top ten I.K. Kim jumps from #21 to #15, Beatriz Recari vaults from #45 to #26, Lizette Salas continues moving up the list with a move from #46 to #38, and Pornanong Phatlum leaps from #66 to #52.

Just a reminder to all the new followers of this blog, at the top of this and every page are live scoreboards to all the major women's tours. Sort of a one stop shopping. Bookmark this page and you will be able to check all the scores of all the tours without changing sites. It is all here!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yani Tseng Withdrawn from Kia Classic for Missing Pro-Am Tee Time

Can this week get any worse for former number one Yani Tseng?
First she saw her string of 109 weeks on top the Rolex Rankings come to an end, as Stacy Lewis replaced her as the number 1 player in the world.
Now she has been withdrawn from the Kia Classic, for missing her Pro-Am tee time.

LPGA rules state that a player has until the first player of her Pro-Am team tees off at the second hole to show up, or she is withdrawn from the tournament.

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,” Tseng said in a statement released by the LPGA. “I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake, and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans. The Kia Classic is one of my favorite tournaments and I have so many great memories in San Diego. I can’t wait to come back here next year.”

Yani won the Kia Classic last year, leaving the tournament without its defending champion.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kia Classic Preview & Pairings

After one of the most thrilling finishes that resulted in Stacy Lewis taking over the top spot in the official Rolex Rankings, it is already time to turn the page and look at this week's tournament.

The tour moves to the state of California for the playing of the Kia Classic. Most players will not only be trying to win the first place prize, but will be trying to get their game in shape for the first major championship which is next on the schedule.

This will be tournament #5 of 28 to be played this year.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Avaira Golf Club
Location:  Carlsbad, California
Defending Champion:  Yani Tseng
Winning Score: 67-68-69-70 = 274 (-14)

Final Field:  144 Players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage:  6,593
Purse:  $1,700,000

This week's sponsor exemptions are Ha-Neul Kim and Alice Kim(a).

Here are the Pairings for the first 2 rounds.

Here are the television times:
Mar 21 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM EST
Mar 22 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM EST
Mar 23 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM EST
Mar 24 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM EST

My strength of field rating is 87%. This is the strongest field this year by far. It will probably be the strongest field for a non major championship this year. The entire top 50 on the LPGA priority list is playing. According to the field list that is currently available, this week will mark the return of Song-Hee Kim who has been out for quite some time. It also shows both Natalie Gulbis and Se Re Pak playing after long illnesses.

Other Tidbits:
Sun Young Yoo missed the cut this past week. She had made her previous 24.
Ryann O'Toole made the cut this past week. She had missed her previous 9.
Nicole Jeray missed her 14th consecutive cut.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc's 294 yard driving average not only leads the LPGA by 12 yards, it is just 3 yards short of making the PGA top ten.

Titleholders Update:
Ai Miyazato, Angela Stanford, and Jessica Korda qualified this week.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Of course we all know Stacy Lewis moved from #3 to #1. Also in the top 10, Ai Miyazato moved from #9 to #7. Outside the top 10 there were quite a few huge moves by players who have been playing solid golf all season. Jessica Korda (one of only 3 players to finish in the top 20 in all 4 events), moved from #53 to #42, Lizette Salas moved from #58 to #46, Gerina Piller moves from #79 to #65, and Sydnee Michaels moves from #132 to #112.

Who's Hot:
Jessica Korda has now finished in the top 5, two weeks in a row.
Gerina Piller has two consecutive top 10 finishes.

Who's Not:
Hee Young Park has not finished better than 35th this year.
Cristie Kerr has not finished better than 29th.

My Picks for This Week's Tournament:
 1- Paula Creamer
 2- Jiyai Shin
 3- Yani Tseng
 4- Na Yeon Choi
 5- Inbee Park
 6- Ai Miyazato
 7- Stacy Lewis
 8- So Yeon Ryu
 9- Jessica Korda
10-Danielle Kang
11-Gerina Piller
12-Sydnee Michaels

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Stacy Lewis Moves to #1 in the World.

A year ago at this time Yani Tseng's lead as the world's #1 player was so large, it appeared it would be a number of years before anyone could possibly catch her. No one could possibly have predicted she would lose it this quickly. Not that Yani didn't have a great run. She did spend 109 weeks at the top, but her inability to find the winner's circle while Stacy has won 6 more times, has led to an unlikely turnaround.

It certainly didn't appear like it was going to happen this week. Especially after she was assessed a two stroke penalty following the third round, when her caddy Travis, made an illegal move while in the bunker on the 16th hole. Instead of entering the final round 2 shots back, Stacy would be 4 shots back.

Stacy kept close most of the final round, but couldn't get closer to the lead than one shot as they went to the 16th hole. Ai had many birdie opportunities throughout the day, but couldn't seem to get them to fall.
Then disaster struck for Ai Miyazato. With only a pitching wedge to the 16th green, she missed right and her ball rolled down into the desert to an unplayable lie. After taking a drop, and a penalty stroke, she hit her 4th shot across the green and two putted for a 6. Stacy would then drop a 15 foot put, to pretty much close the deal. She would then birdie the 17th hole, a stretch of 4 birdies in 5 holes, and go on to win by a comfortable 3 stroke margin.

Stacy Lewis, who won the player of the year last year, has now won the last 2 tournaments. She clearly has become the world's best player.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Natalie Gulbis withdraws with Malaria

Natalie Gulbis has withdrawn from this week's RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup tournament as she recovers from Malaria.

The LPGA  and  Gulbis' management firm, announced that Gulbis became ill while playing in Singapore at the beginning of the month.

Initially it was reported that she was ill with flu-like symptoms. She was then treated and cleared to fly home.
It wasn't until her illness persisted, that she was diagnosed with Malaria.

"Natalie continues to be treated at home and is expected to be at full strength in three weeks."

Gulbis hopes to return in time for the LPGA's first major championship, the Kraft Nabisco.

The LPGA said a healthcare provider would be on site this week in Phoenix in order to draw blood and provide assistance to any players, caddies or family members who were in Singapore and wish to be screened.

Gulbis, who has struggled with back pain for a number of seasons, finally
appeared to be healthy before contacting this illness. I am sure you will all join me in wishing her a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup Pairings

The pairings for the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup have been posted.
Here are the highlights:

Thursday Prime Time

Featured Pairing #1 -  Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, and Yani Tseng
Featured Pairing #2 -  Na Yeon Choi, Brittany Lincicome, and Jessica Korda
Featured Pairing #3 -  Chella Choi, Cristie Kerr, and Inbee Park
Featured Pairing #4 -  Ai Miyazato, Hee Young Park, and Jeong Jang

Friday Prime Time

Featured Pairing #1  - Jiyai Shin, Lexi Thompson, and Suzann Pettersen
Featured Pairing #2 -  Beatriz Recari, Azuhara Munuz, and Karrie Webb
Featured pairing #3 -  Brittany Lang, Hee Kyung Seo, and Vicky Hurst
Featured pairing #4 -  I.K. Kim, Julie Inkster, and Sun Young Yoo

Here are the Complete Pairings for the first 2 rounds.


Monday, March 11, 2013

RR Donnelly Founders Cup Preview & Pairings

If you are reading this, I guess you have made it over to my brand new website. My aim is to make this the best women's golf site on the Internet. You will never see any ads here as I am not interested in advertising or making a single penny. I just want to help promote the game I love. Not enough is written about how great these women are, both on and off the golf course. In the next few weeks I will probably be tinkering a bit, as I continue to try to find ways to  improve what you see here now. I will be happy to receive any feedback or suggestions you may have regarding this site.

One of the unique things I have added to this site are live scoreboards covering not just the LPGA, but also the CLPGA, JLPGA, The Symetra Tour, the ALPG, and the L.E.T. I would like to also add the KLPGA, if they will ever put out an English version of their scoreboard.

I would suggest that anyone who is a fan of women's golf to bookmark this link, for a unique one stop visit to live scoreboards for all the women's tours.

Now on to this week's topic. The LPGA makes its way to the United States for the first time this year, with the playing of the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup.

This will be tournament #4 of 28 to be played this year. Here are the key details:

Course:  Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriot Pheonix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Location:  Phoenix, Arizona
Defending Champion:  Yani Tseng
Winning Score:  65-70-67-68=270-(18)

Final Field:  132 Players
Par:  36/36=72 
Yardage: 6583 Yards
Purse: $1,500,000

This week's sponsor exemptions are Meaghan Francella and Jaclyn Sweeney.

Here are the pairings for the first two days.

Here are the television times:
March 14 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM EST
March 15 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM EST
March 16 - GC 4:00 PM-7:00 PM EST
March 17 - GC 4:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

With this tournament being a full field event, this is a very strong field with a lot of depth. Every American player that qualified is playing. The notable missing players include: Shanshan Feng, Mika Miyazato, Catriona Matthew, Se Ri Pak (injured), and Momoko Ueda. My strength of field rating is a strong 78%.

Other Tidbits:
Suzann Petterson defeated Inbee Park in a playoff this past weekend, to win the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship. This tournament, which took place in China, was on both the L.E.T and CLPGA schedule.

The China Ladies Golf Association (CLPGA), and the Ladies European Tour Access Series (L.E.T Access Series), will now be incorporated in the Rolex Rankings. The L.E.T Access Series is a development tour similar to the Symetra Tour. The Rolex Rankings will now include 8 tours in their rankings. They are as follows:
1- The LPGA Tour
2- The Symetra Tour
3- The L.E.T (Europe)
4- The L.E.T Access Series
5- The KLPGA Tour (Korea)
6- The JLPGA Tour (Japan)
7- The CLPGA Tour (China)
8- The ALPG Tour (Australia)

Who's Hot: 
Stacy Lewis has played 12 rounds of golf so far this year, she has shot under par in 10 of them.

Who's Not:
Mina Harigae, who many predicted a breakout season, has played 10 rounds, and shot under par just once.

Flying Under the Radar:
With all the talk about teenage sensations so far this year, it has almost gone unnoticed that Jessica Korda is one of only four players on tour to finish in the top 20 in every tournament this year. Jessica, who just had a birthday, will be starting her first tournament as a 20 year old.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Rikako Morita, who won this week's event on the JLPGA, moves from #45 to #38.

My picks for this week's tournament:
1- Paula Creamer
2- Suzann Pettersen
3- Inbee Park
4- Yani Tseng
5- Jiyai Shin
6- Na Yeon Choi
7- So Yeon Ryu
8- Lexi Thompson
9- Carlotta Ciganda
10- Azahara Munoz
11- Ai Miyazato
12- Caroline Hedwall

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stats & Facts - Volume 12

Let me start off by congratulating Stacy Lewis for winning the HSBC Women's Champions. Stacy, the defending LPGA Player of the Year, came out on top with a one stroke victory over NaYeon Choi. Paula Creamer finished two strokes back. See the Constructivist's review for the full details.

The LPGA will now take a one week break while it makes its way to the United States for the playing of the RR Donnelley Founders Cup. This is a good time to look at some statistics and notes covering the first three tournaments of the year:

Rolex Player of the Year Standings  (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1-  Stacy Lewis - 39 points
2-  Jiyai Shin - 30
3-  Inbee Park - 30
4-  Yani Tseng - 21
5-  Beatriz Recari - 16
5-  Na Yeon Choi - 16
7-  Paula Creamer - 9
7-  So Yeon Ryu - 9
9-  Moriya Jutarnagarn - 7
10-Jessica Korda, Danielle Kang - 6

Vare Trophy  (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1-  Na Yeon Choi - 69.125 strokes per round
2-  Stacy Lewis - 69.583
3-  Carlotta Ciganda - 70.00
3-  Yani Tseng - 70.00
5-  Jiyai Shin - 70.083
6-  Beatriz Recari - 70.167
7-  Thidapa Suwannapura - 70.250
7-  Marijo Uribe - 70.250
9-  Catriona Matthew - 70.417
10-Paula Creamer - 70.500

Official Money Leaders ($100,00.00 minimum)
1-  Stacy Lewis -  $301,364.00
2-  Inbee Park - $232,517.00
3-  Jiyai Shin - $218,358.00
4-  Yani Tseng - $195,451.00
5-  Na Yeon Choi - $177,517.00
6-  Beatriz Recari - $158,159.00
7-  Paula Creamer - $107,554.00

Rookie of the Year Standings
1- Moriya Jutanagarn - 117 points
2- Ayako Uehara - 27
3- Austin Ernst - 22
3- Chie Arimura - 22
5- Brooke Pancake - 5

Most Consecutive Tournaments Without a Missed Cut
1- Karrie Webb - 47
2- Paula Creamer - 46
3- Jiyai Shin - 39
4- Na Yeon Choi - 36
5- Beatriz Recari - 35

Most Top Fives This Year
1- Stacy Lewis - 2
1- Beatriz Recari - 2
1- Yani Tseng - 2

Players Who Finished in Top 20 in all Three Tournaments Played:
Stacy Lewis
Jiyai Shin
Catriona Matthew
Jessica Korda

Other Tidbits:
Morgan Pressel's top ten finish this week was her first since the Sybase Match Play Championship last year.

Titleholders Update:
The power trio of Stacy Lewis, Na Yeon Choi, and Paula Creamer are the latest to qualify.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis moves from #4 to #3. Both Stacy and Na Yeon Choi could overtake Yani Tseng as the world's #1 player with a victory next week.
Paula Creamer moves from #13 to #11, Lexi Thompson #23 to #20, Ariya Jutarnagarn from #57 to #40, and Jessica Korda from # 61 to #53.