Back in April I wrote who I thought were the biggest surprises & disappointments of the year. The LPGA had only played 7 tournaments at that point. So much has changed since then. The LPGA has now played 16 of its 32 tournaments, and I think it is time to take another look.
1- Michelle Wie - She started to play better the second half of last season, but not too many people saw this coming. With the possible exception of Stacy Lewis, Wie has become the most consistent player on the LPGA tour. Michelle Wie started the year as the #61 ranked player in the world, and is now #6. She finished last season #41 on the money list, and she is #2 this year. She has teed it up 14 times this year and has had 2 wins (one a major championship), 6 top 5's, 10 top tens, and 13 top 20's. Her worst finish this year is a tie for 23rd place.
2- Anna Nordqvist - Anna came onto the LPGA in 2010 and won twice that year, with one of those wins being a major championship. She did not win again the next 3 years. Coming into the 2014 season we didn't have very high expectations. Anna has turned it all around this year winning twice, and her consistency has her currently #5 on this year's money list.
3- Karrie Webb - After a huge comeback year in 2012 when she won twice, Karrie slipped just a bit last year. Taking into account that she will be turning 40 this year, there was every reason to think that her numbers would decline some more. Well, that certainly hasn't happened! Karrie has won twice already this season. Currently #7 on this year's money list, this Hall of Famer is not slowing down.
4- Lydia Ko - Sure I know she had already won a couple of LPGA tournaments before this year. I also know that everyone expected her to have a big rookie season this year. So why is she a surprise? She is a surprise because with all the hype she still had to go out and do it. And do it she has. She has gotten that first win as an LPGA member under her belt, along with 6 top 5 finishes, and seven top tens. Currently #3 on this year's money list, she is having a rookie season for the ages.
5- Jennie Shin - Talk about flying under the radar, most fans still don't know who she is. Although Jennie is still looking for that first victory, she has a top 5, 4 top tens, and 8 top 20 finishes this year. Her improvement has been dramatic. Jennie finished #45 on the money list in 2013, and is currently #16. Look for that first victory to come along soon.
6- Gerina Piller - Somewhat of a late bloomer at 29 years old, Gerina just keeps getting better every year. A real bomber, she is #1 in driving distance this year. Gerina finished #68 on the money list in 2011, #48 in 2012, #26 in 2013, and is currently #23 this year. I look for that trend to continue.
Honorable mentions: Chella Choi, Azahara Munoz.
1- Ai Miyazato - There are players having worse seasons than Ai, but none of them are as disappointing based on our expectations. Maybe like Yani Tseng, I will have to lower my expectations next year, but for now I am still waiting for her to turn it around. The numbers don't seem to make sense. She has missed 3 straight cuts. She has gone 28 tournaments without a top ten. Worse yet, 17 tournaments without a top 20.
This former #1 player has now dropped to #53 in the world. Her decline started last season when she dropped to #26 on the money list, this year she is currently #85.
2- Mika Miyazato - Things are not good if your name is Miyazato this year. Mika has actually been worse than Ai. She has missed the cut in 4 of her last 7 starts. She has not finished in the top twenty all year. In 2012 Mika finished #11 on the money list, this year she is #88.
3- I.K. Kim - In some ways this is more puzzling then the top two. I.K. came into this season as one of the best players in the world, and we haven't seen anything resembling that player. She has one 13th place finish this year, but other than that she has finished 30th or worse in all the others. I.K. finished #7 on last year's money list. You can currently find her residing at the #60 spot.
4- Beatriz Recari - What is going on here? Beatriz won twice last year and finished #8 on the money list. This year she has missed 6 cuts, doesn't have a top 20 finish, and is currently #98 on the money list.
5- Moriya Jutanugarn - Last year's rookie the year, has not shown up at all this year. Moriya has played in all 16 events this year and her best finish is 27th. Currently #75 on the money list, it's time to wake up or she might be fighting to get into events next year.
6- Vicky Hurst - I only rank her this low because my expectations weren't as high as the players above her, but Vicky might be having the worst season of any LPGA player. She has only made 1 cut this year in 12 attempts and ranks #157 on the money list. Once such a promising young player, she will now have a hard time retaining her playing card.
7- Sun Young Yoo - With just 1 top 20 finish in 13 starts she has not contended this year. Just 2 years ago she finished 17th on the money list. This year she currently #57.
Dishonorable mentions: Ihlee Lee, Carlotta Ciganda, Irene Coe.
Lexi Thompson missed the cut this past week for only the 2nd time in her last 21 starts.
The LPGA has now hit the halfway point of the season with only 5 players that played all 16 tournaments.
They are: Hee Young Park, Chella Choi, Mo Martin, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Caroline Masson.
Chella Choi and Na Yeon Choi have only 6 top tens between them, but have finished 11th to 20th sixteen times.
Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis remains #1, but now has a very large lead that would suggest she may be staying there for quite some time. Lydia Ko passes Inbee Park and moves up to the #2 spot.
Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Stacy Lewis has a huge lead with 3,524 points. She is followed by Michelle Wie with 2,588, and Lydia Ko with 1,928.
So Yeon Ryu has done everything but win. She has finished in the top ten in 5 of her last 6 starts.
Meena Lee has four consecutive top 15 finishes.
Mindy Kim has missed the cut in her last 10 starts.