Skip to main content

Rating the 2016 LPGA Rookies - Part 1

With the LPGA season about 1/3 complete 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.

 Depending on the player's  Priority rating, some have played up to 10 events this year, others haven't teed it up at all. I have given grades to all players that have played in at least 2 tournaments.

You might think that some of these grades I have given are harsh, but this is the big time now, and these players have to take advantage of every opportunity, or risk losing their cards. 

 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 deal with 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.

 Let's take a look at how they are doing so far. 


In Gee Chun appears to be the heavy favorite to win the 2016 Rookie of the Year award.

In alphabetical order: (SA = Scoring Average)

SSU Chia Cheng  Has teed it up 4 times this year and made 3 cuts, with a best finish of 40th place. She is currently # 121 on the money list, and has a SA of 73.4. The latest reshuffle was kind to her and she moved from 177 to 155 on the priority list, so she may get more chances. Look for her to take advantage. Grade C

In Gee Chun - With Brooke Henderson choosing to pass on being a 2016 rookie, there really isn't any competition here for Rookie of the Year Award. In Gee is clearly the best player of the 2016 crop. She has made all 6 of her cuts, and is #8 on this year's money list in spite of having a second place finish that didn't count in official earnings. Her SA of 69.8 ranks 3rd on the LPGA. She hasn't won yet this year, but has finished 2nd, three different times. A future star....no make that a star right now. Grade A+

Holly Clyburn - Already a star on the LET (Currently #7 on that money list), Holly has teed it up 6 times this year on the LPGA, making 4 cuts. She is #100 on the money list, has a best finish of T20, and a SA of 72.7. Look for her to climb up the money list as she plays more LPGA tournaments. Grade C+

Hanna Collier - Hanna has missed the cut in all three of her starts this year, and carries a 76.0 SA. Grade F

Ani Gulagan - Has had just one start on the LPGA this year and missed the cut. Her SA is 79.0.
Grade Incomplete

Ginger Howard - Missed the cut in her only appearance, and has a 79.5 SA. Grade Incomplete

Jaclyn Jenson - Has teed it up twice this year, and has failed to make the cut on both occasions. Her SA is 78.3. Grade F

Megan Khang - She has either been great, or just plain awful. There has been no in-between. She has teed it up 9 times this year, and missed the cut 6 times. The three times she has made the cut, she has been in contention, finishing 7th, 4th, and 11th. Her consistency will improve. She is currently #43 on the money list, with a SA of 71.8. Megan is just 19 years old, and I predict she will be in the top ten of the world rankings by the time she is 21. Grade B 

Lee Lopez - Lee has made the cut in 5 of her 9 starts this year, but is still on the outside looking in at #101 on the money list. Her best finish is T31, and her SA of 73.4 must improve a bit to stay on this tour. Grade C



Gaby Lopez has been the biggest rookie surprise so far this year.

Gaby Lopez - A pleasant surprise! Gaby has teed it up 10 times this year, missing only 2 cuts. She has 3 top 20 finishes, and is currently #56 on the money list. Her SA of 71.8 matches that of  the much more publicized Megan Khang. Grade B

Brianna Mao - In four starts this year, she has made the cut twice, with a best finish of T33. She is currently #124 on the money list. Her priority rating improved 10 spots (to 153) after the last reshuffle, which should result in more starts. Her SA of 72.7 isn't that bad. Look for her to improve by my next report. Grade C

Ally McDonald - Has not played this year. Grade Incomplete

Wichanee Meechai  - Has played just one event this year, and missed the cut with a SA of 77.0. Grade Incomplete

Grace Na -  Grace has had plenty of opportunities this year but has failed to take advantage of them. In nine tournaments, she has only seen the weekend once. She currently ranks #151 on the money list , with a best finish of 70th place. Her SA of 75.4 will not cut it on this tour. Grade F

Benayapa Niphatsophan - This is the 2nd (Meechai was the first) of 7 rookies from Thailand on the LPGA tour this year. A very impressive showing. The problem thus far is that not one of them appear to be ready, or have had any success. Combined they have teed it up 29 times, missing 21 cuts. In fact, the best finish for the bunch was a T45. Benayapa has teed it up 8 times, making just 3 cuts. Her best finish is T49, and her SA is 74.0 Grade C-

Su Oh - It has been a nice year so far for Oh, and with her improved priority ranking (169 to 138), look for it to get even better. She has made the cut in 4 of her 5 starts, and has 2 top 20 finishes. She is currently #81 on the money list, and has a solid 72.0 SA. Grade B-

Annie Park - I expected more from Annie, but it has been pretty good nonetheless. In 10 starts, Annie has made the cut 6 times. She does have a top 10 finish, and carries a SA of 73.1. She is currently #82 on the money list, but I expect that to improve. Grade B-

Ashlan Ramsey - It has been a struggle so far for Ashlan, as she has made just 2 of 9 cuts this year. Her best finish is a T69, with a 75.2 SA. She is #145 on the money list. Grade D-

Marion Ricordeau - She has made 2 cuts in her 4 starts this year, with a best finish of T23. She has split her time playing both the LPGA and the LET. With the new reshuffle, her priority rating has improved from 177 to 155. This will result in more starts. She is currently #113 on the money list, and her SA is an okay 72.7.
Grade C-

Cyna Rodriguez - It's been a tough start of the year for Cyna. She has only seen the weekend twice in 9 starts. Her best finish of T67, SA of 75.0, and money list ranking of #147, must all improve if she is to have any chance of retaining her playing card. Grade D- 

Rachel Rohanna - It's been a mixed bag for Rachel so far this year. She is very capable of going low, and just as capable of shooting 10 strokes higher the next day. The talent is there, it's just a matter of consistency. She has made 5 cuts in 9 tries this year, with a best finish of T31. Her SA of 73.6 should improve, and along with it her #103 money rank. Grade C

Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong - If I am going to have to type that name, I wish she would at least get a start. That hasn't happened yet this year. Grade Incomplete

Bertine Strauss - In 8 starts this year she has made 4 cuts, with a best finish of T24. She is currently #108 on the money list, and her Sa is 73.0. Grade C

Budsabakorn Sukapan - She has had plenty of opportunities this year, but has not been able to finish better than 45th. She has made just 3 cuts in 9 tournaments, and has a SA of 74.0.  She is currently #134 on this year's money list. Grade D 

Anne-Catherine Tanquay - In two starts this year, she has failed to make it to the weekend. Her SA is 74.5. Grade F

Prima Thammaraks - She has also not been able to make the weekend in her 2 starts this year, and sports a 77.5 SA. Grade F

Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras - She has not been able to make an impression this year, in spite of playing regularly. She has only made 2 cuts, while teeing it up 9 times. Her best finish is a T65, and has a SA of 74.9.  She currently ranks #152 on the money list. Grade D-

Pavarisa Yoktuan - Didn't make the cut in her only start of the year. Has a SA of 75.0. Grade Incomplete

Jiayai Zhou - Has 2 starts this year and has not made a cut. She has a 76.5 SA.
Grade F

Note: There will be one more final reshuffle the second week of June. In some cases it only takes one made cut to improve your priority ranking and get the chance to play in more events.

The LPGA resumes its schedule next week with the playing of the Kingsmill Championship. Look for my preview, and lots more, in a few days.



Follow @tonyjesselli  on Twitter (Currently 1,468 followers)
                                     





Comments

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…