Skip to main content

My Top 30 Player of the Year Predictions for 2015

We are just about a week away from the beginning of the 2015 LPGA season.
With 34 tournaments on the schedule (including the Solheim Cup), this year promises to be the most interesting season ever.

Here are my top 30 picks for the 2015 LPGA Player of the Year: (last year's actual finish is in parenthesis)

1- Stacy Lewis (1) - This one is really tough. I kept changing my mind. Any one of my top 4 players could finish here. I pick Stacy because I believe she wants that #1 Rolex Ranking back very badly and will come out of the gate faster than anyone else. I look for her to repeat.

2- Lydia Ko (3) - Can she become the next Player of the Year? Of course she could. For the reasons I stated above, I think she will have to wait another year. It will help if she could win her first Major Championship.

3- Inbee Park (2) - The 2013 winner, almost pulled it out again last year. I look for her to slip back ever so slightly into this position.

4- Michelle Wie (4) - A late season injury prevented Michelle from contending for this title last year. Looking as comfortable as she has ever been on the LPGA tour, I see this as a 4 way race for the top, and yes, if healthy Michelle could win it.

5- Chella Choi (16) - I will probably get some criticism for picking her this high. I just think she is ready to take her game to the next level. Look for her to get that elusive first LPGA victory this year, and it just might be a Major Championship. The talent is there, but as the slowest player on the tour, she needs to speed up her game.

6- Suzann Pettersen (12) - If her back injuries continue to affect her game, then I am picking her too high. If she is healthy she is still a threat to win every week.

If healthy, look for Suzann to be among the best of 2015

7- So Yeon Ryu (6) - I always feel that she should win more than she does. Contends on a regular basis, but has a difficult time finishing. If she could drop a few more final round putts, watch out!

8- Shanshan Feng - (5) - One of the premiere players on the LPGA tour, she could finish anywhere from #5 to #10 on this list.

9- Hyo-Joo Kim (N/A) - I haven't seen enough of her to make a real intelligent pick here. What I have seen is sure impressive. A rookie this year on the LPGA tour, she has won 10 times in Asia. The competition is stronger here, but look for her to finish in the top ten.

10- Lexi Thompson (7) - It shows just how strong the LPGA is, when I can just barely fit her into my top 10. Lexi won her first Major Championship in 2014, but cooled off a bit after that.

11- Azahara Munoz (14) - After a poor 2013, Azahara bounced back to have her most consistent year of her career. Still looking for that first stroke play victory (she won the Sybase Match Play tournament), I predict it will come this year.

12- Jessica Korda (10) -  She won twice last year but didn't do much of anything else. I need to see more consistency in her game before I can rate her higher. She has the potential to be a top 5 player.

13- Pornanong Phatlum (26) - I am predicting many first time winners this year, and Pornanong is on the top of my list. Look for her to get to that next level this year.

14- Mirim Lee - (11) - She won twice last year and didn't win the Rookie of the Year award because of a player named Lydia Ko. I don't think she will win twice again this year, but I do expect another solid year.

15- Brittany Lincicome (19) - At the mid point of last season it appeared that her better days were behind her. She fooled us all by having a very strong second half. In fact, she had 3 top five finishes, and 5 top tens in her last 8 starts. When she is focused she is still one of the top players in the world. I look for a continuation of that 2nd half focus.

Will her hot second half of the 2014 season lead to big things in 2015?

16- Julieta Granada - (22) -  She had an excellent 2014 season, and I expect continued improvement this year.

17- Minjee Lee - (N/A) -  I know I may be getting a few Minjee Who? Those people will find out this year just how good this Australian rookie is. She could very likely be higher than this.

18- Anna Nordqvist  (9) - She won twice very early in the year and it appeared that she had regained that spark that had been missing in previous years. Unfortunately, the spark seemed to fade in the second half of the season and she was just another very good player.

19- Na Yeon Choi (23) -  She should be in the prime of her career, but she seems to be fading. I look for a slight improvement in her game this year, but there are too many good players to rate her higher than this.

20- Paula Creamer (18) - Paula won her 10th career victory last year but did not have a very good season. Not up to our expectations anyway. She recently got married and that makes this year even harder to predict. Her days of being among the elite players have seemed to have come and gone. I hope I am wrong and she makes this prediction look foolish.

21- Karrie Webb (8) - Speaking of looking foolish, Karrie makes me look that way every year. I keep predicting a decline in her game and it never happens. I'm going to be stubborn though, and predict that drop off in her game to come this year.

22- Cristie Kerr - (15) - She did everything but win in 2014. Her putting just doesn't seem to be what it once was, and the fact that she is now a mother, both point towards a decline in 2015.

23- Angela Stanford (20) - Just penciling her in about where she finishes every year.

24- Jenny Shin - (34) - Has streaks when she looks like a top 10 player, then disappears for long stretches before resurfacing again. She is still only 22 years old, and I look for those good stretches to be longer this year.

25- Kyu Ju Baek (N/A) - I will have a better chance of rating her when I get the chance to see her play. A rookie this year, she has already been ranked in the top 10 in the world. I am told by the experts that she is rated a notch below Hyo-Joo.

26- Charley Hull (N/A) - Another 2015 rookie, but this one I have seen play many times. She earned a category 17 playing card (limited play) in Q-School, but look for that to change after the first re-shuffle when she will then get to play regularly. I am sure she will use her sponsor exemptions to play earlier in the year when she doesn't qualify. A future superstar!

27- Mi Jung Hur (24) - It was a strong comeback season for MJ. I look for more of the same this coming year.

28- Ihlee Lee (37) - After a horrendous first half of the season where she made very few cuts, she found her game and seemed to be in contention every week. I rate her game somewhere in the middle of those two half seasons.

29- Lee-Anne Pace - (29) - She won her first LPGA tournament in 2014. A player that misses very few cuts, look for another solid season.

30- Kim Kaufman - (50) - My surprise pick of 2015. She had a very solid rookie season in spite of not playing the first one third of the year on the LPGA Tour. I look for continued improvement in 2015.

My surprise pick. Can Kim Kaufman break into the top 30 this year?


Player most likely to make me look foolish for not picking her - Ariya Jutanugarn.

Player that could be the biggest surprise of the season - Alison Lee.

Player most likely to disappoint - Sakura Yokomine.
Be sure to add your own picks in the comments section.

  (currently 1,213 followers)


Comments

  1. I notice you seem to mistype Minjee Lee's name as Mingee quite often, haha. Great picks. Like I've said before I'm hoping for big things from Ariya.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks. I'll correct. With Alison Lee (Rookie), Ilhee Lee, Jee Young Lee, Jeong Eun Lee (Rookie), Meena Lee, Mi Hyang Lee, Min Lee (Rookie), Minjee Lee (Rookie), Mirim Lee, and Seon Hwa Lee, this can get quite confusing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Props and thanks for having as much confidence as we do here in So.Dak. for our own Kim Kaufman. Hopefully she can start out strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She has all the tools, she just needs to be more consistent.

      Delete
  4. If Liz Nagel gets a chance watch out. She is 187 on list and probably will not get a lot of invites to the LPGA.
    She posted the lowest round in both stage one and stage two Q school.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

LPGA Player Profile - Natalie Gulbis

With the LPGA taking a one week break before resuming its schedule in the state of Texas, I want to take this opportunity to do my fifth player profile.

The player I have chosen this time around, may very well be in the twilight of her career, but has been a crowd favorite for many years. I have chosen:

NATALIE GULBIS


Born: 1/7/83 (34 years old)
Hometown: Sacramento Calif.
Resides: Lake, Las Vegas, Nev.
Rookie Year: 2002



Natalie has won once on the LPGA tour:

2007 Evian Masters

 Natalie has had many of her best finishes in Major Championships!

Best Finishes in Major Championships:

ANA Inspiration - Finished 3rd in 2006KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Finished 5th in 2005U.S. Women's Open - Finished 4th in 2005Ricoh British Open - Finished 9th in 2013The Evian Championship - Finished 52nd in 2013 (It was not a Major Championship when she won this event).

Career Stats:

318 career starts237 cuts made (74.5%)37 top tens (11.6%)Has $4,892,233 in career earnings through the 2016 season (57…

LPGA Reshuffles 2018 Priority List

The LPGA had its first reshuffle of its Priority List this week. While most of the players moved up or down a few insignificant spots, there were some very significant moves also.

The Priority List is what is used to fill the required amount of spots for any given tournament. Without me getting into the categories, which is potentially confusing, here is a brief explanation. Most full field events have a field of 144 players. Usually 140 of the players come from the Priority List ranking. Two players are Monday qualifiers, and 2 more are sponsor exemptions. So to keep it simple, if your Priority Rating is #150, you have to hope that 10 players decide not to play, or you are probably not getting into the field.


The following players made some of the biggest jumps in this week's reshuffle (and by getting into the top 100 become part of my weekly field rating):
Bronte Law - 108 to 86
Amy Olson - 112 to 88
Nasa Hataoka - 116 to 92
Caroline Inglis - 126 to 93
Hee Young Park - 106 to 94
Mariajo…

Most Popular Photos of the Year - 2017

1/9/18 - Bonus pics added at bottom of this page!


As many of my readers know, my wife and I go to quite a few LPGA tournaments each year. Since 2010 we have gone to over 50 events, including two in Scotland (St. Andrews being our favorite), and the last 8 Canadian Opens.

I do all the writing on here (my wife who is a teacher, is my proofreader), while my wife Cindy does most of the picture taking. Neither of us are professional photographers, but once in a while we get lucky and capture a moment that is very popular with my viewers.

Below I have reposted the most popular photos of 2017. I based this on the number of website hits, and the number of comments each photo received. Some came as quite a surprise to me, as when they were taken I was not expecting such a reaction.

#18
#17
#16
#15
#14
#13
#12
#11
#10
#9

LPGA Qualifying Tournament 2018 Final Stage - The Q-Series

The final stage of the LPGA qualifying tournament, the Q-Series, will begin this week.
A field of 102 players will be teeing it up.

At the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship, the LPGA first announced that Q-Series will replace LPGA Qualifying School Final Stage, which was previously held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Instead of 90 holes like the old Final Stage, the new Q-Series will be 144 holes. Players will compete in two, four-day tournaments with cumulative scores over the eight rounds for a $150,000 purse, which will be distributed at the end of the eight rounds.

The LPGA will debut the new Q-Series at the historic Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina, which has hosted several prestigious tournaments including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. 
The first week of the LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be played on the George and Tom Fazio-designed Pinehurst Course No. 6 from Oct. 24-27, while the Q-Series will conclude on the Rees Jon…

U.S. Women's Open Preview, Pairings, and More

Before I get started on this week's tournament, let me give a big congratulations to Minjee Lee for winning the LPGA Volvik Championship. Minjee's final round -4 under par 68, was good enough to win by one stroke over runner-up In Kyung Kim.


This week the LPGA travels to the state of Alabama for the playing of the U.S. Women's Open Conducted by the USGA. This is the second Major Championship of the 2018 season.

Sung Hyun Park will be trying to successfully defend the title she won last year at Trump National Golf Club by two strokes over Hye Jin Choi.



This will be tournament #14 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule. It is also the 2nd of five Major Championships to be held this year.

Course:  Shoal Creek
Location:  Shoal Creek, Alabama
Defending Champion:  Sung Hyun Park
Winning Score:  73-70-67-67 = 277 (-11)

Final Field:  156 players
Cut: Top 60 and ties
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,732
Purse:  $5,000,000



My strength of field rating is a mighty 87% (down from 91% last year). The re…

118th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship Preview

The LPGA is taking a one week break this week before resuming their schedule in Indianapolis.

I would like to take this time to preview a very important USGA event that is taking place this week.

The 118th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

Many of my readers may remember last year's championship when University of Texas senior Sophia Schubert, 21, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., became the first player over the age of 19 to win the championship in nine years with her 6-and-5 victory over Stanford sophomore Albane Valenzuela, of Switzerland, at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.

Here are the Key Details:
Championship Venue:  Golf Club of Tennessee
Location:  Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Architect:  Tom Fazio
Par:  71
Yardage: 6,275


Dates of Championship:  August 6-12
Field:  156 players
Eligibility: Any female amateur whose handicap index does not exceed 5.4
Defending Champion: Sophia Schubert
Winning Margin: 6 and 5 over runner-up Albane Valenzuela

Championship Field
A starting field o…

Breaking News: Lexi Thompson Withdraws From Ricoh Women's British Open

Lexi Thompson announced today via Instagram that she has withdrawn from the Ricoh Women's British Open. She released the following statement:

Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know that I am officially withdrawing from the 2018 Ricoh Women's British Open.  It is extremely difficult for me not to play in this prestigious Major, but I realized recently that I need to take some time to work on myself. The events of the past year and a half (on and off the golf course) have taken a tremendous toll on me both mentally and emotionally. I have not truly felt like myself for quite some time. I am therefore taking this time to recharge my mental batteries, and to focus on myself away from the game of professional golf.  Thank all so much for your continued support. I hope to see everyone soon as I plan to defend my title at the 2018 Indy Women in Tech Championship. Lexi
It has been a tough past couple of years for Lexi. She lost the 2017 ANA Inspiration in a playoff when she was given a 4 s…