Skip to main content

Rating the 2017 LPGA Rookies - Part 1

Before I begin let me give a big congratulations to Sei Young Kim for winning the Lorena Ochoa Match Play Championship. After defeating 5 different opponents, she met Ariya Jutanugarn in the final match. Sei Young jumped out quickly and hung on, winning 1 up, against the #2 player in the world.

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 8 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, otherwise they have been marked incomplete.


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. 


Image result for sung hyun park
Sung Hyun Park appears to be the huge favorite to win the 2017 Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award

In alphabetical order: (SA = scoring average)

Aditi Ashok - Has not played much this year because of a poor Priority Ranking, but when she has she has played fairly well. She has made the cut in all 3 of her starts, with a best finish of 42nd. She is currently ranked #96 on this year's money list. With the reshuffle of the Priority List, she will get more starts in the future. Grade C+


Brittany Benvenuto - Has just one start and missed the cut. Grade Incomplete


Celine Boutier - Has not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete

Hannah Burke - Has gotten two opportunities, and has failed to make the cut in each one. Grade F


Peiyun Chien - Has teed it up eight times this year making 4 cuts. Her 11th place finish at the Kia Classic has been her best finish. Currently #63 on the ML. Grade B-


Karen Chung - Has teed it up 6 times this year with very little success. She has made just 2 cuts, with a best finish of 52nd. She is currently #136 on the money list and needs to play better.  Grade D-


Jenny Coleman - Played only once on the LPGA this year and missed the cut - Grade Incomplete


Emily Collins Has not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Daniela Darquea  - Played only once this year and missed the cut. Grade Incomplete


Justine Dreher Has not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Allyssa FerrellHas not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Dana Finkelstein - In six tournaments this year she has only seen the weekend twice. Her best finish was a 46th, and she is currently #130 on the ML. Grade D-


Laura Gonzalez Escallon - She has made three cuts this year in eight starts. Her best finish at the Pure Silk, where she finished 9th. Currently # 77 on the money list. Grade C+

Regan De Guzman - Has teed it up four times, missing all four cutsGrade F


Jennifer Ha - In 6 starts this year she has made just one cut. That was a 49th place finish. She currently resides at #141 on the money list. Grade D-


Nasa Hatoaka - Winner of the 2016 Japan Women's Open Championship, this teenager came onto the LPGA tour this year with very high expectations. So far she has not lived up to them. In seven tournaments she has not finished better than 30th place, making just 3 cuts. Her driving distance of just 243 yards, ranks her near the very bottom of the LPGA stats. Currently #118 on the money list. Grade D


Caroline InglisHas not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Augusta JamesPlayed only once this year and missed the cut. Grade Incomplete


Min-G KimHas not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Lauren Kim - Teed it up just once this year, and missed the cut. Grade Incomplete


Nelly Korda - Has teed it up seven times this year, and has made every cut. The highlight of her season to date is her 5th place finish at the Pure Silk. She currently resides at at # 40 on the ML. Grade B


Olafia Kristinsdottir - Finished second (behind Jaye Marie Green) in the 2016 qualifying tournament, but has struggled on the LPGA Tour so far this year. She has made just 2 cuts in 6 tournaments, with a best finish of 30th place. Currently #116 on the ML. Grade D


Nicole Broch Larsen - This star player from the LET has gotten into just two tournaments (making both cuts), because of a poor Priority Ranking. She is currently #125 on the ML. With the current reshuffle, she will now get into many more events. Look for the poor grade I am giving her to improve big time by the time I revisit this subject later this season. Grade D+


Bronte Law - Made the cut in her only tournament. The reshuffle should help her also. Grade Incomplete


Sung Hyun Park -  She is the heavy favorite to win the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award. Like Nelly Korda above, she has teed it up 7 times without missing a cut. Her best finish this year was at the HSBC, where she finished 3rd. Last year (as a non LPGA player) she had finishes of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th place. She won seven times last year on the KLPGA tour, and comes to the LPGA as an established star expected to win immediately. That is the only thing she has failed to do. If she wants to join the likes of So Yeon Ryu and In Gee Chun as former KLPGA players who made an immediate impact on this tour, she must show she can finish. Stay tuned! Grade A-


Maria Parra - Has struggled to find success so far this year. She has had 6 opportunities, but has made it to the weekend just twice. Her best finish is 69th, and she is #139 on the money list. Grade D-


Emily PedersenHas not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Katherine Perry - Has played well in spurts this year, making 3 cuts in seven tournaments. Her best finish was 21st, and currently resides at #95 on the ML. Grade C


Krista PuisiteHas not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Mel Reid - A huge star on the LET for many years, Mel is a 30 year old rookie. She has played well this year making 3 of 5 cuts, with a best finish of 13th place. She is currently #71 on the money list. Grade B-


Madelene Sagstrom - Advertised by most people "in the know" as a can't miss prospect, she has struggled so far this year. She has made just 2 of 6 cuts (missing all 4 cuts by one stroke). Her best finish is 43rd, and is currently #107 on the ML. Look for improvement by my next report. Grade C-


Madeleine ShellsPlayed only once this year and missed the cut. Grade Incomplete


Mariah Stackhouse - Missed the cut in both her tournaments this year. Grade F


Jesse TangHas not teed it up this year. Grade Incomplete


Emily Tubert - Teed it up just once this year, finishing in 53rd place. Grade Incomplete


Britney Yada Played only once this year and missed the cut. Grade Incomplete


Angel Yin - Probably the biggest rookie surprise so far this year. Prior to this year she had played 9 tournaments as a non LPGA player, never finishing better than 50th. Based on that, not much was expected. She has surprised by making 4 of 7 cuts, and has two consecutive 5th place finishes. She is currently #33 on the ML. Grade B+


Image result for angel yin
Angin Yin has been the biggest rookie surprise so far this season.

Note: There will be one more final reshuffle the third 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.


Other Tidbits:
In spite of her not being in contention much on Sunday afternoons, Brooke Henderson has eight top 25 finishes this year. Only Ariya Jutanugarn has more.


Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Ariya Jutanugarn squeaks by So Yeon Ryu and into 2nd place. Sei Young Kim jumps up from #12 to #8, while Angel Yin leaps from #86 to #71.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Things tightened up quite a bit this week. SoYeon Ryu still leads with 1,605 points, but Ariya Jutanugarn closes in with 1,525. They are followed by Cristie Kerr (1,211), Inbee Park (1,082), and Lexi Thompson (980). 

Who's Hot:
Cristie Kerr has finished in the top ten in each of her last 5 starts. She now has four top five finishes, no one on the LPGA has more.
Ariya Jutanugarn's 2nd place finish this past week was her 8th top 10 finish of the year, which leads the tour. 

Who's Not:
Chella Choi has not registered a top 30 finish in her last 6 starts. 
Mi Hyang Lee has not finished better than 25th in her 9 starts this year.
Christina Kim has failed to register a top 30 finish in 9 starts this year.


This Week's Trivia Question:

This is a tough one! (If you get this you are bordering on LPGA genius)

It is not unusual (in fact it is quite common) for a player to be ranked in the top 75 of the LPGA Priority List but not in the top 75 of the Rolex Rankings. Can you name the only 2 LPGA players that are currently ranked in the top 75 of the Rolex Rankings, but are not in the top 75 of the LPGA Priority List?

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


   (Currently 1,540 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…