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Rating the Rookies 2014 - Part 1

With the LPGA season about 1/3 complete (10 of 32 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 2/3 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. Players can also earn full time playing cards by finishing in the top 10 on the Symetra Tour.  Let us see how they are doing so far.

In alphabetical order:

Brittany Altomare - Brittany has not played on the LPGA at all this year. She is currently the #11 ranked player on the Symetra money list. Grade Incomplete

Anya Alverez -  Has played in only 2 tournaments this year because of her poor  position on the LPGA Priority List. She has failed to take advantage of these opportunities (like some others have), missing both cuts. She is not playing well at all on the Symetra tour either. Grade F

Amy Anderson - Amy broke just about every college  golf record at North Dakota State. Although that is not a big school, she came to the LPGA with big expectations. She has not disappointed. In just 7 tournaments, she already has finished 7th, 14th, and 25th. She is currently all the way up to #47 on this year's money list. Her card for next year appears to be secure. Grade B+

Dottie Ardina - Has not played this year. Grade Incomplete

Lindy Duncan - Lindy missed the cut in her only tournament this year. Grade Incomplete

Cindy Yueer Feng - She seems to have chosen to get a full Symetra Tour season in this year as she has passed up the few opportunities she would have had to play an LPGA event. It is working so far as she is #1 on the Symetra money list and will get her full playing card for 2015 by that route. Grade Incomplete (but we will see her next year)

Jaye Marie Green - Very young but has all the tools to make it at this level. Her finishes of 19th at the Founders Cup and 24th at the HSBC have given us a sample of what she is capable of. Currently #90 on the money list, look for her to keep improving. Grade C+

Megan Grehan - Finally broke through this week with a 19th place finish in Texas. Really struggled before that with 5 missed cuts and a 70th place finish.  Currently # 110 on this year's money list. Grade D

Dani Holmqvist - Finished 75th in her only start this year. Grade Incomplete

Emma Jandel - Has not taken much advantage of a couple of opportunities, finishing 59th and missing a cut in her 2 tournaments. Currently #142 on the money list. Grade D-

Kim Kaufman - Talk about great timing, with the pending reshuffle following the  Texas tournament, Kim went out and finished in 4th place. She has made the cut in both the tournaments she has played. She has now moved up from #164 to #93 on the Priority List, so she will be playing all full field events. She is currently #54 on the money list.  Grade B+

Stacey Keating - Her 19th place finish this week was enough to move her from from #175 to #145 on the new Priority List. That was her first made cut in 3 tournaments. She will get many more chances now. Currently #113 on the money list, she will have to take advantage of those opportunities. Grade D

Jennifer Kirby - Has had plenty of opportunities, but minimum success. She has made just 2 of 7 cuts, with a best finish of 36th. Currently #106 on money list means it's time to get going. Grade D

Joanna Klatten - Played one tournament and finished 72nd. Grade Incomplete

Lydia Ko - Already an elite player, Lydia has made all of her 9 cuts this year. The LPGA website does not have her results for tournaments she played  in before this year. I show that unofficially she has never missed a cut in an LPGA event ever. My count is 24 of 24 (If The Constructivist is reading this I would like to hear his count). Lydia has won already this year and is #6 on the money list. Grade A+

Mirim Lee - Mirim has come to the LPGA from the KLPGA where she was a three time winner. She finished 2nd at the Founders Cup, but that was her only top 20 finish. She has made 6 of 7 cuts and is #30 on the money list. Grade A-

Xiyu Lin - She has made 3 of her 5 cuts, but has finished no better than 35th. Needs to step it up a bit to avoid a return to Q-School. Currently #101 on the money list. Grade C-

Megan McChrystal - Megan has made 2 cuts in her 3 appearances this year with a best finish of 45th. She moved up from #159 to #147 on the new Priority List, so she will get many more chances to compete in the coming weeks. She is currently #6 on the Symetra money list, giving her a couple of ways to keep her card next year. Grade C+

Giulia Molinaro - She has struggled so far this year. She has made 3 of her 7 cuts, but her best finish is 55th. Currently #117 on the money list she needs to turn that potential into results. Grade D

Erica Popson - Having the same year as Giulia above. She has also made 3 of 7 cuts, her best finish is 44th, and is currently #112 on the money list. Grade D

Paula Reto - She has made only 1 cut in 7 attempts, although it was a good one, a 22nd place finish. Currently #107 on the money list, she must do better. Grade D

Natalie Sheary - She has played in only 1 tournament this year, missing the cut. Grade Incomplete

Marta Silva - Has not played. Grade Incomplete

Kristie Smith - She has played in only 1 tournament this year, missing the cut. Grade Incomplete

Jackie Stoelting - Currently a finalist on the Big Break television show, she has not played on the LPGA this year. She is currently #8 on the Symetra Tour money list, so she might a get her 2015 full time playing card by that route. Grade Incomplete

Kelly Tan - Kelly has made the cut in 3 of 7 tournaments this year, with a best finish of 45th. She needs to do better. Currently #113 on the money list. Grade D

Line Vedal - Another rookie with plenty of experience. Coming over from the LET where she was already a winner, she has made 5 of 7 cuts this year. Her best finish was a 4th at the Swinging Skirts tournament. Currently #35 on the money list she is very secure. Grade B+

Caroline Westrup - Has not made a cut in her 2 opportunities this year. Grade F

This 2014 rookie crop could turn out to be one we will look back on as a very good one. Ko is a star, and Vedel, Lee, and Anderson are future stars. Kaufman is a real dark horse, and Jaye Marie needs to gather some experience, but I think she is a future star. There are several other players on this list that may not get the opportunity now, but will soon, and we will hear more from them.

Other Tidbits:
The Carrolton, Texas, U.S. Open sectional qualifier was played earlier this week and Jaye Marie Green (Winner of the 2013 Q-School final) came out on top. Also qualifying, and joining her at Pinehurst this year will be Maria Hernandez, Belen Mozo, Katie Burnett, and Lisa McCloskey. Players that failed to qualify include Ariya Jutanugarn, Ryann O'Toole, Thidapa Suwannapura , and Vicky Hurst. For a more in depth report see The Constructivist over at Mostly Harmless.

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  1. Is there a higher grade you could give than A+ for Ko? haha. Any concerns about her feeling any pressure as a now tour member have been erased. Amy Anderson is solid! Kim Kaufman came out of the gate strong last year on the Symetra Tour (midway through season) when she turned pro, and she continues this year. Anderson is from North Dakota. I think Kaufman is from South Dakota. New hotbeds of talent maybe? :)


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