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Rating the Rookies - Part 3 - Final Analysis

Let me start by saying that 2014 was a very good year for LPGA rookies. Thirteen of the 28 rookies have retained their playing cards based on their 2014 LPGA performance. That is 46.4%, up from 22.8 % in 2013, when only 8 of 35 rookies retained their cards. Two more rookies retained their playing cards for 2015 as a result of their play on the Symetra Tour, and 3 did in 2013.

Below are my ratings for all 2014 LPGA 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 2015 LPGA playing card was my determining factor for my final ratings.

Kim Kaufman may have been the biggest surprise of 2014

The Best:
1- Lydia Ko - We may never see another rookie like Lydia again in our lifetime. Lydia not only won three times, but had ten top five finishes. She did not miss a cut in any of her 27 starts. She finished #3 on the money list, and is presently ranked #3 in the Rolex World Rankings. The sky is the limit.

2- Mirim Lee - If this was just about any other year, she would have won the Rookie of the Year award. Mirim won twice, had 4 top tens, and 10 top twenties. She made 20 of 24 cuts, and finished #14 on the money list.

Strong Rookie Seasons:
1- Line Vedel - Line quietly put together quite a strong 2014 season. She had 3 top five finishes, highlighted by a 4th place finish at the Swinging skirts LPGA Classic. She made 19 of 24 cuts, and finished #44 on the money list. She was #3 in the Rookie of the Year race.

2- Kim Kaufman - Kim might have been the biggest surprise of the 2014 season. With a terrible Priority List rating, she did not get into an event until the season was 1/3 over. When she got her chance, she sure took advantage of it finishing 4th at the North Texas Shootout. After that tournament the LPGA had their first reshuffle, giving Kim full playing status. She would finish her abbreviated season with 2 top fives, 3 top tens, and 5 top twenties. She also made 12 of 19 cuts. Kim finished #58 on the money list and was 4th in ROY points.

Consider Them A Success:
1- Amy Anderson - It was an up and down year for Amy in 2014. Her first half of the season was actually better than the second. Her best finish was 7th place at the Lotte Championship, and she had two other top twenty finishes. She finished 5th in the ROY race, and 80th on the money list.

2- Paula Reto - It looked like she would would be going back to Q-School until she shocked us all by finishing 3rd at the Yokohama Classic. It was her only top twenty of the year, but it was good enough to place her #77 on the money list.

3- Xi Yu Lin - Her cut ratio, 15 of 21, was excellent, but she had a lot of poor finishes where she barely made it to the weekend. Her 8th place finish at the Portland Classic was the highlight of her year, and her only top 10 finish. She finished #81 on the money list and 6th in the ROY race.

4- Kelly Tan - Kelly's 4th place finish at the Marathon Classic was her only top twenty finish of the year, but it was good enough for her to finish #89 on the money list. She made the cut in half of her 20 starts.

5- Jaye Marie Green - So talented. So much potential. Lydia Ko defeated her for the Amateur Championship in 2013, but it took her 35 holes to do so. A great ball striker; her extreme aggressiveness sometimes becomes her worst enemy. She led the Marathon Classic after the first few holes of the final round, but finished 18th. She made 11 of 22 cuts, and finished 93rd on the money list.

6- Joanna Klatten - One of the longest hitters on the tour, Joanne finished 4th in driving distance. Her 13th place finish at the Shoprite Classic was the highlight of her season, where she made 8 of 14 cuts.
She placed 99th on the money list and barely (top 100) kept her full time playing card.

Retaining Their Card Through the Symetra Tour:
1- Jackie Stoelting - Played only one LPGA event this year because of her poor Priority List ranking, but made the cut. None of that matters as she not only retains her card, but will have full time playing privileges next year. She accomplished this by finishing #3 on the Symetra tour money list. Jackie was also the winner of the Big Break earlier in the year.

2- Yueer Cindy Feng - Played in only 5 LPGA events in 2014, but did have a 13th place finish at the U.S. Women's Open. She made 2 of 5 cuts, but also retains her card by finishing 7th on the Symetra Tour money list.

They Are Going Back to Q-School:
The following 3 players are going back to Q-school to improve their Priority List status for 2015. They still have a playing card, but did not play well enough to guarantee them many starts in 2015.

1- Jennifer Kirby - Jennifer made the cut in 9 of her 18 starts, but without a top 20 finish could not finish higher than #111 on the money list.

2- Guilia Molinaro - Made 8 of 18 cuts, but finished #114 on the money list.

3- Stacey Keating - Stacy only made 5 of 16 cuts, and finished #120 on the money list.

The following players finished outside the top 125 on the money list, and have lost their playing cards for the 2015 season. They will try to get them back at Q-School next week.

1- Brittany Altomare - Did not get into a single LPGA event this year.
2- Dottie Ardina - Failed to make the cut in all 6 of her starts.
3- Lindy Duncan - Missed the cut in her only LPGA event.
4- Megan Grehan - Missed the cut in 16 of her 18 starts and finished #147 on the money list.
5- Dani Holmqvist - Made just 2 of ten cuts and finished the year at #160.
6- Emma Jandel - Missed 10 of 13 cuts and finished in the #141 position.
7- Megan McChrystal - Made just 5 of 14 cuts and finished the year at the #135 spot.
8- Erica Popson - Made just 5 cuts in 19 attempts. She finished #134 on the money list.
9- Natalie Sheary - Missed the cut in all 7 of  her LPGA starts.
10- Marta Silva - Missed the cut in both her starts.
11- Caroline Westrup - Made just 1 of ten cuts and finished #159 on the money list.

Giving up the LPGA?
The following players have lost their playing cards and have not registered for Q-school.

1- Anya Alverez - She made just 2 of 12 cuts and finished #150 on the money list.
2- Kristie Smith - Missed the cut in her only start.

Be sure to check back here next week for my preview of phase 3 Q-School.
Ryann O'Toole, Kathleen Ekey, Vicky Hurst, and Veronica Felibert are among the many LPGA players who have lost their cards and will be trying to get them back.
Other notables trying to get their cards for the first time include; Charley Hull, Stephanie Meadow, Madison Pressel, Ariya Jutanugarn, Mingee Lee, and Cheyenne Woods.





Comments

  1. I'll be at Q School next week (7th time there) and will scope out the new crop of 2015 rookies. I might be caddying for a girl, not sure yet. This year, for the first time in 6 years, they will be playing the tougher Hills (Legends) course 3 times over the five-day event. That should benefit the stronger players. Most people consider the Hills course 2 or 3 shots tougher than the Hills (Champions) course. Charley Hull, Minjee Lee, Ariya Jutanugarn, and Stephanie Meadow are four of the bigger names in the field this year.

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