Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New LPGA Tournament In Indianapolis Added to 2017 LPGA Schedule!

The LPGA will announce today a new tournament to be added to the 2017 LPGA schedule. It will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana and played in and around the famed oval racetrack.

Former Indianapolis Mayor Gregg Ballard will join Indianpolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles, LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, and other officials today to unveil details of the Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim.

Indy Women in Tech Championship

  • The event will take place September 4-10, 2017.
  • In will be a full field event with a field of 144 players.
  • Players will be playing for a purse of $2,000,000
  • First place winner to receive $300,000.
  • Tickets to go on sale November 14, 2016
Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Gerina Piller and former Indiana University standout Danah Bordner, will be part of the announcement today at 1:30 p.m. 

With the LPGA having already announced a new tournament in Green Bay, Wisconsin, this means there will be at least two new domestic tournaments on the schedule in 2017. That will more than make up for the loss of the Coates Golf Championship, that as of this writing has no sponsor and will not be on the 2017 schedule. 

Stay tuned for more surprises.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Reignwood LPGA Classic Preview, Pairings, and More.

Image result for reignwood lpga

After a short one week break, the LPGA resumes its schedule this week with the playing of the Reignwood LPGA Classic. Mirim Lee will be trying to defend the title she won 2 years ago (this tournament was not played in 2015) when she shot a final round 69, to best Caroline Hedwall by 2 strokes.

This is the first of 6 tournaments on the current "Asian Swing". It is also the start of an eight week stretch (without a break) where the season will conclude with the playing of the CME Group Tour Championship.

Image result for mirim lee wins reignwood

This will be tournament #26 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule:

Here are the Key Details:

Course:  Reignwood Pine Valley Golf Club
Location:  Nankou, Beijing, China
Defending Champion:  Mirim Lee (2014)
Winning Score:  70-68-70-69 = (-15)

Final Field:  81 players
Par:  36/37 = 73
Yardage:  6,596
Purse:  $2,100,000

My strength of field rating is a very low 44% The same as it was when last played in 2014). Twenty-four of the top 50 on the LPGA priority list (not used to determine the field on the Asian Swing), and 20 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The field will still have some big stars including: Ariya Jutanugarn (#2 in world rankings), Sei Young Kim, Shanshan Feng, Brooke Henderson, Haru Nomura, Ha Na Jang, and Amy Yang. Players skipping this week's tournament include: Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, In Gee Chun, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park, Minjee Lee, So Yeon Ryu, and Gerina Piller.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
GC   Thurs. Sept.29  1:00 a.m.- 4:00 a.m. ET
GC   Friday Sept.30  2:00 a.m.- 4:00 a.m. ET
GC   Sat.     Oct 1    11:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. ET  (tape delay)
GC   Sun.    Oct 2     2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ET  (tape delay)

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament.
1- Ariya Jutanugarn
2- Sei Young Kim
3- Shanshan Feng
4- Brooke Henderson
5- Haru Nomura
6- Ha Na Jang
7- Mirim Lee
8- Amy Yang
9- Candie Kung
10- Hyo Joo Kim
11- Mi Jung Hur
12- Chella Choi
My Alternates are: I.K. Kim, Jenny Shin, and Su Oh.

After the first 25 weeks of the season, I am currently comfortably in first place among the 20 participants.

Other News:
I am sure most of you have already heard of the passing of Arnold Palmer. Mr Palmer was a 7 time major winner, and became the most beloved figure in the game. He was 87.

Here are the final results:
1 In-Kyung Kim -24
2 Mi Jung Hur -23
3 Mirim Lee -22
4 Shanshan Feng -21
4 Brooke Henderson -21
6 Ariya Jutanugarn -18
7 Mariajo Uribe -17
7 Simin Feng -17
9 Ilhee Lee -16
9 Amy Yang -16
11 Sei Young Kim -15
12 Sarah Jane Smith -14
12 Danielle Kang -14
12 Eun-Hee Ji -14
12 Christina Kim -14
16 Haru Nomura -13
16 Su-Hyun Oh -13
16 Yani Tseng -13
16 Chella Choi -13
20 Pornanong Phatlum -11
20 Lizette Salas -11

Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the bottom of this blog. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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Arnold Palmer Passes Away at 87.

Arnold Palmer known as "The King" has died at the age of 87.

Image result for arnold palmer death

The golf legend won 62 times on the PGA Tour. Included in his victories were the following major championships:

1958 - The Masters
1960 - The Masters
1960 - The U.S. Open
1961 - The British Open
1962 - The Masters
1962 - The British Open
1964 - The Masters

Palmer won his first PGA Tournament, when he won the Canadian Open in 1955. His final victory came in 1973, when he won the Bob Hope Desert Classic.

Palmer would then go on to win 10 more times on the Senior PGA Tour. Five of those were Senior major championships.

It wasn't just his dominance in golf, that made him the legend that he would become. He had the rare mix of style, good looks, and charisma, that attracted legions of adoring fans. Palmer was the first golfer to attract his own special following known as "Arnie's Army" - thousands of die hard fans who surrounded every green to cheer him on.

Image result for arnold palmer

Palmer was born September 19, 1929. Through his 2 daughters, Palmer had 6 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Arnold Palmer is considered by many to be the greatest golfer that ever lived. One thing we know for sure, is that he did more to grow the game of golf than anyone before or after him.

The world of golf has lost a legend. He will be missed.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stats & Facts - Vol. 30 / Asian Swing Field News

With the LPGA off this week, it's a good time to take a look at the key player statistics after the first 25 tournaments of the year. Only 8 tournaments remain on the 2016 schedule, so the race for the major awards is really heating up.

Image result for lydia ko and ariya jutanugarn together
Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko, will be battling for most of the major year end awards.

There have been winners this year from 9 different countries:
Korea, USA, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Sweden, Canada, and Germany.

There have been 5 first time winners this year:
Haru Nomura, Ha Na Jang, Jenny Shin, Ariya Jutanugarn, and Caroline Masson.

Key Player Statistics Thru Tournament #25:

Rolex Player of the Year: (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1- Lydia Ko - 247 points
2- Ariya Jutanugarn - 246
3- In Gee Chun - 145
4- Brooke Henderson - 135
5- Sei Young Kim - 122

This has become a 2 player race. Lydia's huge early lead has all but disappeared. Ariya now looks like the favorite to take this all important Hall of Fame point.

Vare Trophy - (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1- Lydia Ko - 69.320 strokes per round
2- In Gee Chun - 69.525
3- Ariya Jutanugarn - 69.929
4- Ha Na Jang - 69.950
5- Sei Young Kim - 70.000

This race for another Hall of Fame point appeared to be over a few short weeks ago. In Gee's sudden surge has now made this a race again.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
1- Lydia Ko - 4,249 points
2- Ariya Jutanugarn - 4,066
3- Brooke Henderson - 2,776
4- Sei Young Kim - 2, 607
5- In Gee Chun - 2,362

Another instance where Lydia has let a huge lead all but disappear.

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year:
1- In Gee Chun - 1,223 points
2- Gaby Lopez - 427
3- Megan Khang - 394
4- Su Oh - 319
5- Annie Park - 268

This one was over the minute Brooke Henderson accepted her 2015 membership. Not to take anything away from the other people on this list, as they are having fine rookie seasons, but In Gee is in a class all by herself.

Most Victories:
1- Ariya Jutanugarn - 5 wins (Includes 1 major championship)
2- Lydia Ko - 4 (Includes 1 major championship)
3- Brooke Henderson - 2 (Includes a major championship)
4- Ha Na Jang, Sei Young Kim, Haru Nomura - 2 (No major championships)

Imagine how lopsided this would be if Ariya had made one of those makeable putts during the playoff at the Marathon Classic. Lydia went on to win that tournament.

Most Top Five Finishes:
1- Lydia Ko - 11
2- Ariya Jutanugarn - 10
3- In Gee Chun - 7
3- Sei Young Kim - 7
5 -Stacy Lewis - 6

Most Top Tens Finishes:
1- Lydia Ko - 13
2- Brooke Henderson - 12
2- Ariya Jutanugarn - 12
4- In Gee Chun - 10
5- Lexi Thompson - 9
5- Gerina Piller - 9
5- Sei Young Kim - 9

Most Consecutive Tournaments without a missed cut:
1- So Yeon Ryu - 58
2- Stacy Lewis - 35
3- Lydia Ko - 31
4- Anna Nordqvist - 30
5- Amy Yang - 25

Solheim Cup Standings: (Team USA)
1- Lexi Thompson - 334 points
2- Stacy Lewis - 277
3- Gerina Piller - 257
4- Brittany Lang - 186
5- Angela Stanford - 128
6- Jessica Korda - 127
7- Cristie Kerr - 118
7- Mo Martin - 118
Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel would qualify via the Rolex Rankings.

Other Tidbits:
There are no more full field events remaining on the LPGA schedule. All of the remaining 8 events have limited fields. I get many inquiries asking me about how the playing fields are made up in regards to the Asian swing of the LPGA tour.
The actual playing fields are not usually released until the week before the tournament begins, but the following might help answer some of those questions.

1- Reignwood LPGA Classic - Field 81, 62 LPGA, 15 China LPGA, 4 sponsor exemptions.

2- Fubon Taiwan LPGA Championship -  Field 81, 62 LPGA, 15 Taiwan 
LPGA, 4 sponsor exemptions.

3- LPGA KEB Hana Bank - Field 78, 59 LPGA, 12 KLPGA, 7 sponsor exemptions.

4- Blue Bay LPGA - Field 81, LPGA 62, 15 China LPGA, 4 sponsor exemptions.

5- Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia - Field 75, LPGA  63, 12 sponsor exemptions.

6- Toto Japan Classic - Field 78, LPGA 43, Japan LPGA 35, no sponsor exemptions.

For all 6 tournaments of the Asian swing, LPGA players qualify by their placement on this year's money list, not the priority list that was used for all the previous tournaments.

All money earned by players that got into the field as a sponsor exemption (on all Asian swing tournaments), will not count as official money, and therefore will not help in any way in retaining their playing cards for 2017.

One last note: I have gotten many inquiries as to when we will be able to get to see Muni He again. She will be in next week's Reignwood Classic field.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Year - Part 2

With the LPGA taking a 1 week break I would like to take this opportunity to take a look at the players that have taken the biggest leaps, and the biggest falls in the Rolex Rankings in 2016. I last did this back in May when the season was just 1/3 over. Now we have completed about 75% of the schedule, and things have changed dramatically.

The Rolex Rankings system awards points to players based on an accumulated 104-week "rolling" period, with the points awarded in the most recent 13-week period carrying a stronger value. A player is then ranked according to her average points per tournament, as determined by dividing her total number of points by the number of eligible tournaments played during the 104-week period. A minimum divisor (35) is also used. 

 I have gone back to the first Rolex Rankings of the year and compared them to the current rankings. The only requirements for my list is: (1) A player must have been ranked in the top 100 at the start of the year, or be in the top 100 now. (2) A player must have started the year 2016 with a minimum rating of 0.50 (or else this chart would be filled with unknown names.)

Image result for ariya jutanugarn
Ariya Jutanugarn is currently the Rolex Rankings biggest gainer of 2016

The Year's Biggest Gainers:
1- Ariya Jutanugarn - 1.83 to 9.13 = Gain of 7.30 (moved from #63 to #2)
2- Brooke Henderson - 4.03 to 7.60 = Gain of 3.57 ( move 17 to 4)
3- Sung Hyun Park - 2.92 to 5.83 = Gain of 2.91 (move 27 to 10)
4- In Gee Chun - 5.23 to 7.86 = Gain of 2.63 (move 10 to 3)
5- Lydia Ko - 11.60 to 14.18 = Gain of 2.58 (move 1 to 1)
6- Haru Nomura - 1.46 to 3.73 = Gain of 2.27 (move 79 to 19)
7- Gerina Piller - 2.80 to 4.38 = Gain of 1.58 (move 28 to 16)
8- Sei Young Kim - 5.77 to 7.33 = Gain of 1.56 (move 7 to 6)
9- Brittany Lang - 2.18 to 3.58 = Gain of 1.40 (move 44 to 21)
10- Su Oh - 0.52 to 1.88 = Gain of 1.36 (move 209 to 58)
11- Jodi Ewart Shadoff - 0.53 to 1.63 = Gain of 1.10 (move 206 to 71)
12- Jeongmin Cho - 0.68 to 1.66 = Gain of 0.98 (move 167 to 70)
13- Alena Sharp - 0.93 to 1.82 = Gain of 0.89 (move 133 to 61)
13- Seung Hyun Lee - 0.95 to 1.84 = Gain of 0.89 (move 128 to 60)
13- Ha Na Jang - 4.50 to 5.39 = Gain of 0.89 (move of 13 to 12)
16- Ritsuko Ryu - 1.09 to 1.94 = Gain of 0.85 (move 106 to 53)
17- Mo Martin - 1.88 to 2.71 = Gain of 0.83 (move 58 to 31)
18- Candie Kung - 2.01 to 2.79 = Gain of 0.78 (move 50 to 29)
19- Jacqui Concolino - 0.64 to 1.41 = Gain of 0.77 (move 181 to 85)
20- Anna Nordqvist - 4.48 to 5.23 = Gain of 0.75 (move 14 to 13)

Note : As dominant as Lydia Ko's score of 14.18 appears to be, it is nowhere near the 2012 dominance of Yani Tseng's 17.71. At that time Yani held a better than 7 point lead over Suzann Pettersen.

Image result for inbee park wins olympic gold medal
Inbee Park's Olympic gold medal did not help her Rolex Ranking.
The Year's Biggest Decliners:
1- Inbee Park - 11.34 to 7.21 = Loss of 4.13 (moved from #2 to #7)
2- Stacy Lewis - 7.88 to 5.86 = Loss of 2.02 (move 3 to 9)
3- Hyo Joo Kim - 5.24 to 3.45 = Loss of 1.79 (move 9 to 22)
4- Michelle Wie - 2.79 to 1.09 = Loss of 1.70 (move 29 to 149)
4- Cristie Kerr - 5.05 to 3.35 = Loss of 1.70 (move 11 to 23)
6- Brittany Lincicome - 4.13 to 2.58 = Loss of 1.55 (move 16 to 33)
7- Jung Min Lee - 2.68 to 1.56 = Loss of 1.12 (move 32 to 75)
8- Q-Baek - 1.98 to 0.93 = Loss of 1.05 (move 53 to 131)
9- Sun Ju Ahn - 3.39 to 2.36 = Loss of 1.03 (move 21 to 35)
10- Na Yeon Choi - 3.72 to 2.71 = Loss of 1.01 (move 19 to 32)
11- Ilhee Lee - 2.26 to 1.26 = Loss of 1.00 (move 39 to 94)
12- Yani Tseng - 2.34 to 1.35 = Loss of 0.99 (move 37 to 90)
13- Suzann Pettersen - 4.86 to 3.88 = Loss of 0.98 (move 12 to 18)
14- Alison Lee - 3.22 to 2.25 = Loss of .97 (move 23 to 40)
15- Shanshan Feng - 5.89 to 4.96 = Loss of 0.93 (move 6 to 14)
16- Azahara Munoz - 2.76 to 1.90 = Loss of 0.86 (move 30 to 56)
16- Yoon-Kyung Heo - 1.58 to 0.72 = Loss of 0.86 (move 70 to 170)
18- Teresa Lu - 3.70 to 2.97 = Loss of 0.73 (move 20 to 25)
19- Sakura Yokomine - 1.78 to 1.12 = Loss of 0.66 (move 65 to 106)
20- Gwladys Nocera - 1.42 to 0.77 = Loss of 0.65 (move 80 to 158)

Other Tidbits:
Na Yeon Choi withdrew during the first round of the Evian Championship. She was 10 over par through 9 holes at the time. She has now failed to see the weekend in 7 consecutive tournaments.

The 5 major championships this year were won by 5 different players from 5 different countries.

Lydia Ko's player of the year lead has now been reduced to just one point (276 to 275) over Ariya Jutanugarn. A Hall of Fame point is at stake.

It may not have seemed very important that Vicki Hurst missed the Evian Championship cut. It sure turned out to be though, as she dropped from #100 to #101 on the money list. With her schedule now completed, this means she may now have to go back to Q-School. The beneficiary of this was Celine Herbin, who did in fact make the cut, and moved up one spot into that #100 position.

Brooke Henderson returned to her top 10 form this past week. It was her 12th top ten of the year. Only Lydia Ko (13) has more.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
In Gee Chun makes the most important move of the week, jumping from #7 to #3. I.K. Kim Leaps up from # 57 to 41, while Angela Stanford hurdles from #62 to #46.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Lydia Ko continues to lead with 4,249 points. Ariya Jutanugarn closes in some more this week and now has 4,066 points. Brooke Henderson is a distant third with 2, 776.

Who's Hot:
Ariya Jutanugarn has five consecutive top 10 finishes. So Yeon Ryu has finished in the top 20, in 11 of her last 12 starts.

Who's Not:
Mariajo Uribe has missed her last six cuts.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Evian Championship Preview, Pairings, and More

Image result for 2016 evian championship

After a week off, the LPGA is back in action this week with the playing of the Evian Championship. The final major championship on the 2016 LPGA schedule.

Lydia Ko will be trying to defend the title she won last year when she shot a final round 63, to finish 6 shots better than runner-up Lexi Thompson.

With this being the final major of the season, it will also have a huge impact on many of the end of the season awards. For Example:

  • Lydia Ko's lead over Ariya Jutanugarn for Rolex Player of the Year (and a Hall of Fame point) has been reduced to just 5 points. With this being a major championship, the winner will receive 60 points.
  • Lydia's once huge lead in the Race for the CME Globe ($1 Million Dollars) over Ariya Jutanugarn has been reduced to just 248 points. With this being a major championship, the winner will receive 625 points.
  • Lydia's lead on top of this year's money list has shrunk to just $250,000.00 over (you guessed it) Ariya Jutanugarn. The winner will receive $487,500.00
The first four major championships of the 2016 season, have been won by 4 different players from 4 different countries:
  • ANA Inspiration - Lydia Ko (New Zealand)
  • KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Brooke Henderson (Canada)
  • The U.S. Women's Open - Brittany Lang (USA)
  • The Ricoh British Open - Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand)
Will we get our first repeat major championship winner of 2016?

Image result for 2015 evian championship
Lydia Ko will be trying to defend her Evian Championship.

This will be tournament #25 of 33 on the 2016 LPGA schedule. It is also the fifth and final major of the year. 

Here are the Key Details:

Course:  Evian Resort Golf Club
Location:  Evian-les-Bains, France
Defending Champion:  Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  69-69-67-63 = 268 (-16)

Final Field: 120 players
Par:  35/36 = 71
Yardage:  6,453
Purse:  $3,250,000

My strength of field rating is a very high 85% (up from 77.5 last year). It is the 4th strongest field of the year, topped only by the ANA Inspiration, The KPMG, and the U.S. Women's Open. Those fields came out higher because they had more top players playing from other tours. All the top LPGA players will be on hand this week with the exception of the injured Inbee Park. Sun Hyun Park and Jin Young Ko, are the top players from the KLPGA that will be teeing it up.

Here are the television times:
GC   Thurs. Sept.15  5:00 a.m.- 8:00 a.m. ET
GC   Thurs. Sept.15  9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET
GC   Friday Sept.16  5:00 a.m.- 8:00 a.m. ET
GC   Friday Sept.16  9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET
GC   Sat.     Sept.17  6:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. ET
GC   Sun.    Sept.18  8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. ET (tape delay)
NBC Sun.    Sept.18  12:00 - 1:30 pm. ET (tape delay)

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament.
1- Lydia Ko
2- Ariya Jutanugarn
3- Sun Hyun Park
4- Brooke Henderson
5- Lexi Thompson
6- Stacy Lewis
7- In Gee Chun
8- Amy Yang
9- Shanshan Feng
10- So Yeon Ryu
11-  Minjee Lee
12- Ha Na Jang

After the first 24 weeks of the LPGA season, I currently reside in first place among the 20 participants.

I would also like to take this time to thank all of my readers that send me e-mails almost every single day. I don't have the time to answer them all, but they are certainly appreciated.

I received this just now as I was putting this blog together:

Hi Tony,
I just wanted to comment on how much I like your blog and effort that you put into it.  Having followed the LPGA for a number of years, I find that your analysis of the tournaments and players offers a different perspective that is not available from other news feeds.  I try to make two or three of the tournaments a year. Maybe we will run into each other.

As most of you know, I don't get paid for what I do here. You have never seen an advertisement on my blog. I do not make a single penny. I do this strictly to help promote the sport that I love. I feel these ladies don't get enough media coverage or respect. I hope to make a small difference. Receiving letters, like the one above, makes all the time and research I put into this worthwhile.

Links to all live scoreboards appear at the top of this page. Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the end of this blog.

Here are the final results:

1 In Gee Chun -21
2 So Yeon Ryu -17
2 Sung Hyun Park -17
4 Shanshan Feng -15
5 Sei Young Kim -14
6 In-Kyung Kim -12
7 Angela Stanford -10
8 Haru Nomura -9
9 Ariya Jutanugarn -7
9 Gerina Piller -7
9 Brooke Henderson -7
12 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -5
12 Jane Park -5
14 Amy Yang -4
14 Emily Pedersen -4
14 Candie Kung -4
17 Jenny Shin -3
17 Mi Jung Hur -3
17 Carlota Ciganda -3
17 Ha-Na Jang -3
17 Jennifer Song -3

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Rating the 2016 LPGA Rookies - Part 2

Before I get started with this week's subject, I want to say what an exciting tournament the Manulife Classic turned out to be. We have become accustomed to nail biters almost each and every week on the LPGA tour. It seems that every week we either have a playoff or it goes down to the very last hole. This past week was no exception. It has to be some sort of record. Just before the midway point of the final round, if you looked at the scoreboard, there were actually 14 players within one stroke of the lead. Yes, fourteen!

Did one of those fourteen win the tournament? No.

When we hit the stretch coming home on the back nine, we still had 8 players within a shot of the lead. Surely one of the 3 big stars from South Korea would win this, right? No. Then one of the 3 players from Thailand, led by Ariya Jutanugarn? No. I guess then it had to be the world #1 Lydia Ko? No again!

Congratulations to Caroline Masson for getting her first LPGA win. I'm betting she was the player that most viewers were paying the least attention to. Caroline joins Haru Nomura, Ha Na Jang, Jenny Shin, and Ariya Jutanugarn, as first time winners this year.

Now on to this week's subject matter:

It has been almost four months since I last did a  report card on this year's rookies.

I would like to change this up a bit this time, by strictly rating these girls on their chances of retaining LPGA cards for the 2017 season. Any successes or failures on other tours (except Symetra Tour) are not considered here. My only concern here is, are they safe for the 2017 season, or will they have to go back to Qualifying School?

In Gee Chun (with yours truly) will be the runaway winner of the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award.

For those of you who might need some information on how the LPGA "Priority List" works, here is a brief explanation:

If you finish in the top 80 on the 2016 money list, that will be your priority rating for 2017. In other words, if a player finishes #45 on the money list this year, she will be #45 on the priority list next year. That also means she will be eligible for all tournaments, since even limited fields have more than 45 players. It starts to get  real tricky after that as the top 10 players on the Symetra tour money list earn playing cards and are given the next ten spots on the Priority List.
Players who finish 81-100 on the LPGA money list are then added, followed by the top 20 finishes from Qualifying School. All of these players should still get into most tournaments in 2017.

If you finish 101-125 on the 2016 money list you are then added to the priority list. Unfortunately, although you still have playing privileges, you will not get into all full field tournaments. In fact, some of these players will choose to go back to Qualifying School to try to improve their priority rating, or even choose to play on another tour. If you finish 126 or worse you lose your playing privileges.

The above is a general explanation, as trying to list all the categories on the priority list is too time-consuming and potentially confusing. The official LPGA website explains it in more detail.

Image result for Gaby Lopez
Gaby Lopez has secured her card for 2017

Very Secure:
1- In Gee Chun - It was quite obvious from the time that Brooke Henderson gave up her 2016 rookie status, that this player was by far and away the best rookie. She did not disappoint. The runaway winner of the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award thus far this season, she has missed just 1 cut in her 15 starts. Although she has not won yet as an LPGA member (she won the 2015 U.S. Open as a non member), she has 3 second place finishes, and finished third 3 times. Her 69.7 scoring average ranks second on tour. She is currently #8 on this year's money list, and #7 in the world rankings. She will have to show us that she can close on Sundays if she wants to join the top four (Lydia, Ariya, Brooke, and Lexi).

2- Gaby Lopez - Although there is a huge gap between my #1 and #2 players on this list, it should not take away from what Gaby has accomplished so far this season. She is a cut making machine. In fact, she leads all rookies with 17 cuts made (missing just three). Her scoring average of 71.46 ranks her second among rookies and is 48th among all the players on tour. With 6 top 20 finishes she ranks #48 on this year's money list, making her a sure shot to play all tournaments next year.

3- Su Oh - Not quite as consistent as Gaby, but her 2nd place finish at the Kingsmill Championship earlier in the year has her 4th in ROY standings. She has made 9 cuts in her 14 starts, and ranks #46 on the year's money list. Her scoring average of 71.80 is excellent for a first year player. Her status for next year is not in doubt. Definitely a player to keep your eye on.

4- Megan Khang - Has shown flashes of brilliance this year as shown by her 4 top 11 finishes. On the other hand, she has only managed to make the cut 11 times in 20 starts. Her 71.96 scoring average will keep her on this tour, and it will only get better. Currently #58 on this year's money list and third in the ROY race. Her status for 2017 is certainly secure. 

5- Lee Lopez - The "Other Lopez" on the tour this season has been quite a pleasant surprise. Her 6th place finish at the Cambia Classic surely opened up some eyes. She has made 14 of 21 cuts this year, and currently occupies the #67 spot on this year's money list. Her 72.22 scoring average has been good enough for her to retain her full time status for 2017.

Looking Very Good:

1- Annie Park - The buzz at the start of the season was that if there was going to be a player to challenge In Gee for the top spot, it might just be Annie Park. Although she has had her moments, including 2 top 10 finishes, I was expecting her to be better than #6 on this list. She has made the cut in 11 of 20 tournaments, and ranks #86 on the current money list. Her status for 2017 appears to be quite safe, but she will need to improve her 72.54 scoring average to become the player we all think she can be. 

2- Ally McDonald - Who? I know that most of you are not familiar with this name, and are asking how she could be placed in this category. This rookie has not had a single start on the LPGA this year, but her status for 2017 is getting more secure with each passing day. Now let me explain why. The top ten finishes on the 2016 Symetra Tour money list, automatically get full time status in 2017. Ally currently ranks #2 on that list (behind, only record breaker Madelene Sagstrom). 

3- Wichanee Meechai - She has played in only 1 LPGA event this year and missed the cut. Her #4 ranking on the Symetra tour money list so far this season all but assures her full time status next year.

On the borderline:

1- Sherman Santiwiwatthannaphong - Has played 2 tournaments on the LPGA this year, missing the cut in both. She is currently #9 on the Symetra money list. There are still 5 more Symetra Tour events, and with Nelly Korda looming at #11, her status for next year is very much in doubt. 

Not Looking Good:
1- Ssu-Chia Cheng - She has made 14 starts this year, but has only managed to see the weekend 6 times. Her best finish this year was 31st, and her 73.0 scoring average must improve to compete on this tour. She is currently number 122 on the money and will probably have to go back to Q-School to improve her Priority rating for next year.

2- Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras - We had 8 rookies from Thailand on the LPGA tour this year. Unfortunately, not one of them fared well enough in LPGA play to retain full time 2017 privileges (although 2 of them already listed above, may retain their cards through the Symetra Tour). Pannarat teed it up 18 times this year making just 8 cuts. Her 73.08 scoring average needs to get better, and her 123 money ranking will not get her into many (if any) tournaments next year. 

Looking Dismal:

The following players just did not cut it in the big time this year. The only chance you will get to see them in 2017 is if they return to Q-school and are successful there. (In alphabetical order)

1- Holly Clyburn - Much better things were expected from this player, and although her 72.60 scoring average was better than most in this category, she could do no better than 126 on the money list. In 15 starts she made just 6 cuts, with a 41st place finish the highlight of her year.

2- Hannah Collier - Made just 2 cuts in her 10 starts this year. Her best finish was T48, her scoring average 74.09, and places #159 on the money list.

3- Ani Guligian - She only teed it up one time on the LPGA tour this year, missing the cut in that event. In 15 starts on the Symetra tour she managed just $3,000 in earnings.

4- Ginger Howard - She teed it up 6 times this year without making a single cut. Did not fare much better on the Symetra tour either, ranking #155 there.

5- Jaclyn Jansen - Started eight tournaments but managed to finish just one. Has a 74.61 scoring average, and is #168 on the money list.

6- Brianna Mao - In 14 starts this year she was able to make just 6 cuts. Her best finish was a T33, her money ranking 129, and her scoring average 73.18.

7- Grace Na - She had more opportunities than most, teeing it up 18 times, but made just a single cut. Her best finish was a T70, and her scoring average an extremely high 75.42.

8- Benayapa Niphatsophan -  Was only able to make 8 cuts in 18 attempts, with a best finish of T43. She ranks 134 on the money list with a 73.31 scoring average.

9- Ashlan Ramsey - In 18 LPGA appearances was able to make the cut in just 2 of them. Her 75.03 scoring average and best finish of T69, result in a #164 money list standing.

10- Marion Ricordeau - Teeing it up 14 times this year, she was able to make just 4 cuts. She had a best finish of T23 at the Lotte Championship. She currently ranks #143 on the money list with a 73.22 scoring average.

11- Cyna Rodriquez - Ranks #167 on money list. Made just 2 cuts in her 15 starts this year, with a 74.56 scoring average.

12- Rachel Rohanna - Thought by many as a player that would surprise in 2016, she did just that, but in a negative way. Her start to the season was not all that bad, but ending with 9 missed cuts in ten events sure did her in. In total she teed it up 19 times making just 5 cuts. Her 74.16 scoring average needs to improve if she ever expects to do better than the #135 money list ranking she has today. 

13- Bertine Strauss - Teed it up 18 times making 6 cuts. She has a 73.40 scoring average, and ranks #133 on the money list.

14- Budsabakorn Sukapan - Nineteen starts, 5 made cuts, a scoring average of 73.32. That all results in a #141 money list ranking.

15- Anne-Catherine Tanguay - Her numbers weren't all that bad. She made half her cuts (5 of 10), and her scoring average of 72.34 is by far the best in this category. Unfortunately those numbers didn't translate into good results, and her #146 money list ranking tells us she will have to go back to Q-School to have a shot at playing here again next year.

16- Prima Thammaraks -  Teeing up eight times on the LPGA tour this year, she was able to make just 2 cuts. Her best finish was T48, has a scoring average of 73.80, and ranks #163 on the money list. Has not fared much better on the Symetra tour either, she ranks #90 there.

17- Pavarisa Yoktuan - Started only one tournament this year and missed the cut in that event. She does have a very slim chance of retaining her playing card as a result of the Symetra tour. Her ranking there is #16.

18- Jiayi Zhou - In eight starts she made just 3 cuts. Her best finish was T54. She currently ranks #162 on the money list, and sports a 74.14 scoring average.

There you have it. A summary of all 29 LPGA rookies. Although there are still 9 LPGA events remaining, don't expect much of the above to change, as none of them are full field events and only the top players on this list will be teeing it up.

I will give one more rookie report at the end of the season. I will then have season ending results and information on who registers for Q-School, who will play on another tour, and who threw in the towel. 

Other Tidbits:

With Caroline Masson winning this week (from Germany), we now have had winners this year from 9 different countries.

Gaby Lopez missed the cut this past week for the first time in her last 14 events.

Nelly Korda (18) won the Sioux Falls Great Life Challenge on the Symetra tour this past weekend. The win moves her up 20 places to #11 on the money list. After a slow start she has turned it up, finishing in the top 20 in 5 of her last 6 starts. She is the younger sister of Jessica Korda. She is only $1,000 out of the #10 spot which would secure her full time playing privileges on the LPGA tour in 2017. Hopefully, that will be as a player and not as a caddie! 

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:

Mi Hyang Lee jumps from #44 to 36, Caroline Masson from #87 to #45, and Karine Icher from #66 to #46.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)

Lydia Ko still leads with 4,214 points, she is followed closely by Ariya Jutanugarn with 3,966. Brooke Henderson is third with 2,676. Those 3 players just happen to also be numbers 1,2, and 3 in the world rankings.

Who's Hot:

Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn have not missed a cut all season. Ariya has 4 consecutive top 5 finishes.

Who's Not:

Sun Young Yoo has missed the cut in her last 5 starts. Xi Yu Lin has missed the cut in her last three. Julieta Granada has missed 14 cuts this year in 22 starts. Her best finish is T38.

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