Skip to main content

Surprises and Disappointments 2017 - Part 1

Although the LPGA has completed  only about 20% (7 of 34 tournaments) of its 2017 schedule, I don't think it is too early to take a look at some of the ladies that have been the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments of the year so far.

As I do every year, I will do this again at the halfway point of the season and again at season's end.

To further explain how I come up with my list, a player that is very highly ranked and having a great season would not make this list, as I had high expectations for that person and it wouldn't be a surprise. On the other hand, a player that had a bad season last year and is having another one now, would not make this list because expectations would have been lowered. 

With that in mind here are my early season choices:

Biggest Surprises:
Related image
Austin Ernst has been the biggest surprise of the young season.

1- Austin Ernst - Not many big surprises yet this year as all of the tournaments have been won by established players. The biggest surprise though has to be the consistent play of Austin Ernst. Austin has 1 top five finish, 3 top tens (only Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu have more), and 5 top twenty-five finishes. Austin finished #51 last year on the money list, and currently she is #10.

2- Moriya Jutanugarn - While everyone is watching her sister Ariya (#3 in the world), Moriya is off to the best start of her career. She has teed it up 7 times this year, and has 6 top sixteen finishes. She finished 40th on the money list last year, and is currently #16.

3- Michelle Wie - Michelle has been on my list quite a few times over the past couple of years, but in the disappointments section. This year has been another story. Just when we lowered our expectations, she is having a comeback year. She has scraped the table top putting stance, and her putting has been so much better. She has already made almost double the prize money she made the entire 2016 season when she was #105 on the money list. She already has 2 top ten finishes, and currently resides at #26 on the year's money list.

4- Marina Alex - Marina is off to the best start of her career. In just 5 starts, she has 1 top ten, and 3 top twenty-five finishes. She is currently #34 on the money list, by far the best of her career.

5- Nelly Korda - We all knew for sure who was going to win the Rookie of the Year award this year (Sung Hyun Park), but with veterans like Mel Reid joining the tour, we didn't know who would finish second. Nelly, is sure off to a good start. She already has 2 top twenty finishes, with one of them being a top five. She has made every cut, and is currently #33 on the money list.

Honerable Mentions: Angel Yin, Pei-Yun Chien, Jeong Eun Lee.

Biggest Disappointments:
Related image
Na Yeon Choi has been the #1 disappointment so far this year.
1- Na Yeon Choi - One of the top players in the world for many years, she has taken a remarkable fall in a very short period of time. Her best finish this year was a tie for 60th place. She has missed the cut in every tournament that has had a cut. Her scoring average is an embarrassing 74.7 which ranks 143rd on a tour that currently ranks 148 players. She currently ranks #124 on the money list, and must turn things around soon if she wants to continue to play on this tour.

2- Karrie Webb - Has she finally reached the end of a brilliant Hall of Fame career? She has not finished better than 48th this year, and already has missed 3 cuts. She is currently #98 on the money list, but is in no danger of losing her card, as she has at least two exemptions she can use to retain it if need be.

3- Hee Young Park - I will be very surprised if when I do this report again later in the year, that she is still on this list. That said, she certainly deserves to be on it now. She has struggled mightily this year, with her best finish in 6 starts a tie for 37th place. She has also missed the cut in her last 3 starts, and finds herself #90 on the money list.

4- Candie Kung - Always a consistent performer, she has yet to find the magic this year. She has yet to finish better than 46th place. She finished a very solid #25 on the money list last year, but is currently #71.

5- Morgan Pressel - She has played every week, but has only managed to finish better than 42nd just once. A solid player for many years, she started tailing off last year, and this year finds herself all the way down at #66 on the money list.

6- Brittany Lang - Another player that I expect will not be on this list later in the year. Last year's U.S. Open champion does not have a top twenty finish yet this year. She finished #9 on the money list last year, and is currently sitting at #47.

Others: Haru Nomura, Danielle Kang, Eun-Hee Ji, Lee- Anne Pace, Megan Khang, and Paula Creamer.

Other Tidbits:
Jodi Ewart Shadoff missed the cut at the ANA Inspiration. Her cut streak came to an end at 30.

Odd Stat of the Week:
Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn, are the only LPGA players that have 6 top twenty-five finishes this year.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
So Yeon Ryu inches up one more spot to #2 in the Rolex Rankings. Lexi Thompson leaps up from #9 to #4, while Suzanne Pettersen jumps up from #21 to #17. Michelle Wie moves back into the top 100, catapulting from #105 to #75.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
So Yeon Ryu takes over the lead with 1,425 points. Ariya Jutanugarn is next with 1,055, followed by Lexi Thompson with 926.

Who's Hot:
So Yeon Ryu has finished in the top 10 in her last eight starts dating back to last season.

Lexi Thompson now has 3 top four finishes this year. She has lost 2 playoffs.

Who's Not:
Nontoya Srisawang has missed the cut in all 5 of her starts.

This Week's Trivia Question:

What active player has the most career top ten finishes without recording a single victory?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here:

   (Currently 1,538 followers)


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:


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

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.


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…