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Surprises and Disappointments Part 2 / LPGA Priority List Reshuffle

Back in April I wrote who I thought were the biggest surprises & disappointments of the year. The LPGA had only played 8 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.

Biggest Surprises:

Sei Young Kim - My pick pick as biggest surprise at the halfway point of season

1- Sei Young Kim - We knew entering this year that this was going to be the best rookie crop ever. Many people wrote in their choices for rookie of the year, but this lady was rarely mentioned. All she has done this year is win twice and post 7 top tens. She appears to be able to step up her game a notch in big tournaments. 

2- Hjo Joo Kim - The reason why this lady is not my top pick as biggest surprise is that our expectations were much higher for her than for Sei Young Kim. That said, I didn't think she would be this good, this fast. In my opinion, the best rookie of 2015. If she doesn't win the Rookie of the Year Award it will be because she just doesn't play in enough tournaments. She has teed it up only 12 times this year, but has a win, 3 top fives, seven top tens, and ten top twenties. Her worst finished is a tie for 23rd. She has never missed a cut in an LPGA tournament ever. Already ranked #4 in the world, look for her to challenge for the #1 position very soon.

3- Minjee Lee - Another rookie that has already won this year. If this were any other year she would be the favorite to win the ROY award. She has amassed 2 top fives, 4 top tens, and 8 top twenties already this year. A star for many years to come.

4- Brooke Henderson - Not yet an LPGA member, this young lady can not be left off this list. Not as experienced as the 3 players above, her rise up the Rolex Rankings (currently #46) this quickly was not expected. She has played in only 7 tournaments this year, but her earnings would rank her #21 on the money list. She has earned $45,352 per start, which would rank her #9 on the LPGA. 

5- Mariajo Uribe - After a slow start to the season, Mariajo has caught fire. In her last 5 tournaments, she has 1 top five, 2 top tens, and 4 top twenties. She came onto the LPGA with very high expectations, she appears to be finally living up to them.

Honorable mentions: Alison Lee, Ha Na Jang, Sandra Gal, and Austin Ernst.

Biggest Disappointments:

We haven't seen Michelle Wie's fist pump much this year

1- Michelle Wie - Michelle Wie is coming off a year where she won a major championship, and finished #4 on the money list. Currently #58 on this year's money list, that player is no where to be found. In 2014 Michelle had 2 wins, 9 top fives, and 13 top tens. This year she has teed it up 14 times without a single top ten finish. There are some nagging injuries, but this was totally unexpected.

2- Chella Choi - Chella had been getting better every year, and a breakthrough into the winners' circle was expected very soon. Her poor play this year has come as quite a surprise. Last year she had 7 top five finishes, 9 top tens, and 20 (yes 20) top twenty finishes. This year she has teed it up 16 times with just 2 top tens, and 6 missed cuts.

3- I.K. Kim - Coming off a poor 2014 season in which she didn't play much, we figured when she played more regularly she would return to form. That has not been the case. In 11 starts this year she has just one top 10, and has missed 4 cuts. Appears to be just a shell of the player she was 2 years ago.

4- Q-Baek - The sky was the limit for this player coming into the season. Her name was mentioned with all the top rookie players. That player hasn't shown up yet. She has teed it up 14 times this year and has yet to have a top 10 finish, and has missed 4 cuts. 

5- Sakura Yokomine - Like Q-Baek above, she was though to be in the fight for ROY this year. With just 1 top ten and 5 missed cuts, she has disappointed her many followers. 

Others: Haeji Kang, Meena Lee, Christina Kim, and Eun Hee Ji.

Priority List Reshuffle:

The LPGA had its second reshuffle of its Priority List this past 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.

We will be seeing lots more of Jacqui Concolino after the 2nd LPGA Priority List reshuffle

The following players made big jumps in this week's reshuffle:
Christel Boeljon - 116 to 94
Kelly Shon - 134 to 96
Perrine Delacour - 138 to 100

Although the jumps made by the above players look good on paper, it is not that significant, as they were playing all full field events anyway.

The following players made the most important gains, and should now be playing in most full field events:
Jacqui Concolino - 153 to 103
Jee Young Lee - 155 to 145
Jing Yan - 154 to 147

The following players are not guaranteed to play all full field events, but have a much better chance than before the reshuffle:
Becky Morgan - 158 to 150
Chie Arimura - 166 to 151
Cydney Clanton - 160 to 153
Victoria Elizabeth - 165 to 155

The following players got hurt the most and will be seeing less playing time, or no playing time at all:
Seon Hwa Lee - 130 to 162
Julie Yang - 152 to 159
Sue Kim - 148 to 154

The following players lost their medical exemptions and are no longer on the LPGA Priority List:
Vicky Hurst
Christine Song

Other Tidbits:
Inbee Park had her cut streak ended at 27.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Na Yeon Choi jumps up from #20 to #13, while Anna Nordqvist rises from #9 to #7.

Race to the CME Globe:    (1 million dollars)
Inbee Park continues to lead with 2,671 points. She is followed by Lydia Ko with 2,234, and Sei Young Kim with 2,112.

Who's Hot:
It seems like every golfer from South Korea. They now have won 9 tournaments this year. No other country's players have more than 2.

Who's Not:
Earlier in the season I would have never thought I would be writing this. Ariya Jutanugarn has missed 6 consecutive cuts.

Hard to Believe Stat of the Week:
The last 3 tournaments have resulted in missed cuts by Stacy Lewis, Lydia Ko, and Inbee Park.

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  1. Brooke Henderson's performance on the LPGA has been so impressive. She has matched it in her starts on the Symetra Tour. In the 3 events she has played she has 1 win, 1 tie for 2nd place, and 1 3rd place. If she were credited with all of her winnings in those three starts she would be first on the tour's money list and in excellent shape to earn her 2016 LPGA card that way. The other players currently ranked high on the Symetra Tour money list have all played in 10 or 11 events.
    It will be fun to see how she does next week in the U S Women's Open, where she tied for 10th last year as a 16-year-old amateur.


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