Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stats & Facts - Final 2017 (includes 2018 schedule announcements)

First let me congratulate Ariya Jutanugarn for winning the CME Group Championship. Ariya made long birdie putts on both the 17th and 18th holes to win by one stroke.

That wasn't the whole story of the weekend though as three big season ending awards were decided:
  • Lexi Thompson won the Vare Trophy
  • So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park shared the Player of the Year award
  • Lexi Thompson won the Race to the CME Globe and its 1 Million Dollar bonus check.

We have come to the end of another exciting LPGA season. In many ways it was one of the most exciting seasons ever. Each week we were treated to exciting and competitive tournaments. It certainly seemed that almost every week the tournament wasn't decided until the last hole. In fact, there were 5 tournaments that needed a playoff to determine the final outcome. There were 10 tournaments that were decided by one stroke, and 9 more that were decided by two. We had winners from 8 different countries. We also saw Team USA retain possession of the Solheim Cup with a very impressive victory.

Image result for Team USA wins 2017 solheim cup
Team USA successfully defended the Solheim Cup Championship in 2017. 

On that note I would like to take a look at some of the most important stats of the 2017 season.

1- In-Kyung Kim - 3
1- Shanshan Feng - 3
3- Seven players tied with - 2

Most Top Ten Finishes:
1- Shanshan Feng - 12
1- So Yeon Ryu - 12
3- Sung Hyun Park - 11
3- Moriya Jutanugarn - 11
3- Lydia Ko - 11

Most Top Twenty-five Finishes:
1- Moriya Jutanugarn - 22
2- Brooke Henderson - 21
3- Sung Hyun Park - 20
4- Shanshan Feng - 18
4- Lydia Ko - 18

Rolex Player of the Year:
1- So Yeon Ryu - 162 points
1- Sung Hyun Park - 162 points
3- Lexi Thompson - 159
3- Shanshan Feng - 159
5- In-Kyung Kim - 127

Vare Trophy:
1-* Lexi Thompson - 69.114 strokes per round
2- Sung Hyun Park - 69.247
3- In Gee Chun - 69.415
4- Stacy Lewis - 69.609
5- Inbee Park - 69.673 (did not play enough rounds to qualify for title)
  * Second best figure in LPGA history, and best since 2002.

Official Money:
1- **Sung Hyun Park - $2,335,883 
2- So Yeon Ryu - $1,981,593
3- Lexi Thompson - $1,877,181
4- Shanshan Feng - $1,728,191
5- Ariya Jutanugarn - $1,549,858
  ** Lowest winning figure since 2012.

*Race to the CME Globe:
1- Lexi Thompson $1,000,000
2- Sung Hyun Park - $150,000
3- Shanshan Feng - $100,000
* All unofficial money, and does not count on official money list.

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year:
1- Sung Hyun Park - 1,620 points
2- Angel Yin - 732
3- Nelly Korda - 599
4- Madelene Sagstrom - 479
5- Nicole Broch Larsen - 405

Average Driving Distance: (minimum 15 tournaments played)
1- Maude Aimee-Leblanc - 279.256
2- Joanna Klatten - 278.073
3- Lexi Thompson - 273.786
4- Angel Yin - 272.452
5- Yani Tseng - 270.815

Greens In Regulation: (minimum 15 tournaments played)
1- Lexi Thompson - 77.7%
2- So Yeon Ryu - 77.5%
3- Anna Nordqvist - 77.4%
4- In Gee Chun - 77.0%
5- Marina Alex - 76.2%
5- Shanshan Feng - 76.2%

Putts Per Green in regulation: (minimum 15 tournaments played)
1- Inbee Park - 1.734 
2- Cristie Kerr - 1.737
3- Lydia Ko - 1.741
4- Stacy Lewis - 1.742
5- Moriya Jutanugarn - 1.747

Most Wins by Country:
1- South Korea - 15
2- United States - 7
3- China - 3
4- Three countries with - 2

Other Tidbits:
Lexi Thompson's second place finish at the CME Group Tour Championship was her 6th of the year. No other player had more than 4.

The Cambia Portland Classic has extended its contract with the LPGA through the year 2020.

The Race to the CME Globe will last at least 6 more years, as Michael Whan announced an extension through 2023.

The LPGA is likely going to lose three events next year, but it will gain three new ones, leaving the tour with 34 events, including the UL International Crown. That’s the same number of events being played this year. Total prize money is expected to reach $69 million, up from the record $65 million played for this season.

The Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada is off next year’s schedule, and the Lorena Ochoa Match Play also is not expected to return. The McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open is not returning, but only because it is sliding off the schedule to move up early on the 2019 schedule.
Whan said two new West Coast events are being added, and they will be positioned on the calendar next to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, to give players more reasons to stay out west.
Whan said there’s also a new international event being added to the schedule, but details of the new events won’t be released until the full schedule is released sometime after Thanksgiving.
Q-School officially overhauled . . .
Whan said the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will still be played in three stages next year, but the final stage will get a makeover as the Q-School Series.
The LPGA will continue to host first and second stages, but instead of a five-round final stage, there will be an eight-round finals series, with two four-round tournaments scheduled in back-to-back weeks in the same city, with cumulative scores used over eight rounds. The new Q-Series site will be announced early next year.
A field of 108 will make the Q-Series finals, with 40 to 50 LPGA tour cards up for grabs.
The Q-Series field will be filled by players finishing 101st to 150th on the LPGA money list, players finishing 11st to 30th on the Symetra Tour money list, with up to 10 players from among the top 75 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who don’t have LPGA membership. Also, the field will include the top five in the Golfweek Sagarin College Rankings. The rest of the field will be filled by players advancing through Q-School’s second stage, which could be anywhere from 23 to 33 players, depending how many from the world rankings and college rankings choose to go to the Q-Series.
Rolex Movers of the Week:
Ariya Jutanugarn makes the most important move this week jumping from #9 to #5. Jessica Korda leaps up from #37 to #26. Further down the list, Kim Kaufman jumps up 16 spots to #103. Shanshan Feng retains the #1 spot by the narrowest of margins over Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, and Lexi Thompson. Any one of those players mentioned can take over the top spot after the first tournament of 2018. Stay tuned!

This Week's Trivia Question: 
Three players won their first LPGA tournament in 2017. Can you name them?

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

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  1. Only one European won this year.

  2. Great info. To me, the tour seems healthy which is great to see. Influx of Asian players at this point is (IMO) an asset not a liability as was feared years ago. Thanks Tony!

  3. Tony - do you have any details re: the 2 West Coast events in 2018?
    Will San Fran be one of them?

  4. We should be getting the official word on that in the next 48 hrs.