Skip to main content

How Good are the 2018 LPGA Rookies?

The 2018 season is sure off to an amazing start. As has been the case for the past number of years, it seems that every tournament goes down to the very last hole, or results in a playoff.

Congratulations go out to Brittany Lincicome for winning the Pure Silk LPGA Bahamas Classic, the first tournament of the year. As usual the tournament went right down to the final hole before the winner was determined. See my recap here.

It was a very fast start for some of the 2018 LPGA rookies:
  • Hannah Green shot a 4 under par 215 to finish in 11th place.
  • Erynne Lee's 2 under par 217 was good enough for a 21st place finish.
  • Nannah Koertz Madsen, Maria Torres, Yu Liu, and Lindsey Weaver, in their first tournaments as LPGA members, all managed to shoot even par (tied for 31st) in the blustery conditions in the Bahamas.
That brings us to today's subject. Just how good is this year's crop of LPGA rookies?

Image result for jin young ko wins hana bank

Last year was a strong year for LPGA rookies. Twelve of thirty-seven rookies finished in the top 100 on the year money list. One more retained her playing privileges by way of her stellar play on the Symetra tour. This was a dramatic increase from 2016 when only 9 rookies were able to retain their playing privileges.

 Here is a look at the percentage of LPGA players who were able to retain their playing privileges after their first season:
  • 2017 - 13 of 37 = 35.1%
  • 2016 -  9 of 29  = 23.1%
  • 2015 - 19 of 33 = 57.6%
  • 2014 - 13 of 28 = 46.4%
  • 2013 -  8 of 35  = 22.8%
  • 2012 - 12 of 33 = 36.3%
Is this year's rookie crop better than the 2017 group? Only time will tell.
Can it be as good as the 2015 group? No. That was a record breaking year, and we may never see another group like that one in our lifetime. But that doesn't mean that this year's group can't still be amongst the best in recent years. Let's take a look: (Everything written below was put together before the Pure Silk LPGA Classic was played. I did not want to change anything based on the results in the Bahamas, as I wanted this to reflect my original thoughts before the start of the season).

The Very Best: (age and country in parenthesis)
1- Jin Young Ko (25 / South Korea) - The heavy favorite to win the 2018 Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award. Ko has won ten times on the Korean LPGA Tour (KLPGA). She has already won on the LPGA Tour, winning the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Classic. She was also the runner-up to Inbee Park in the 2015 Ricoh Women's British Open. As of this writing she is ranked #18 on the Rolex World Rankings. 

Future Stars?:
2- Georgia Hall (21 / England) - In my opinion, the only player on this list that has a reasonable chance to challenge Jin Young Ko for rookie honors. Georgia was a member of Team Europe in the 2017 Solheim Cup. She finished 3rd in the 2017 Ricoh British Open, and 10th at the Evian Championship. She is currently #40 on the Rolex Rankings.

Image result for Nanna Koerstz madsen
Nanna Koertz Madsen won her maiden LET event at the Tipsport Golf Masters.
3- Nanna Koertz Madsen (22 / Denmark) - Nanna just tore up the Symetra tour last season. In just 13 events, she had 3 wins, 6 top fives, 8 top tens, and 11 top twenty-five finishes. Her spectacular strokes per round average of 69.69 led that tour. She has already won on the Ladies European Tour (LET). She represented Denmark in the 2016 Olympics. 

4- Hanna Green (21 / Australia) - Not as experienced as the three players I rated above her, and not as well known, but watch out for this young lady. In 20 starts on the Symetra Tour last season, Hannah had 3 wins, 9 top fives, 12 top tens, and 15 top twenty-five finishes. 

The Best of the Rest:
5- Yu Liu (21 / China) -  Liu was as consistent as anyone on the Symetra tour last year. In 21 starts she had 1 victory, 6 top fives, 9 top tens, and 15 top twenty-five finishes. 

6- Rebecca Artis (29 / Australia) - Many of my readers are probably familiar with this lady as she was a member of Team Australia in the 2016 UL International Crown. She has been a member of the LET since 2010, and has won twice on that tour. 

7- Katelyn Dambaugh (23 / USA) - She joined the Symetra Tour in June of 2017 as a 3 time All American who was the University of South Carolina's all time leader in career stroke average. She led all Symetra Tour players with a 1.76 average putts per greens in regulation. Although she played in just 12 events, she had 6 top tens, and 10 top twenty-five finishes. Her 70.30 scoring average was third best on tour.

They Could Surprise:
8- Emma Talley (23 / USA) - One of just 5 women to win both the NCAA (2015) and U.S. Women's Amateur (2013) titles. She had a solid year on the Symetra tour last season with one victory, four top fives, eight top tens, and 11 top twenty-fives. Her average driving distance of barely 245 yards (ranked 92nd) could be a major concern.

9- Lindsey Weaver (24 / USA) - A rookie on the Symetra tour last year, she got off to a slow start but then caught fire. She finished with 7 top tens in her last 10 starts. 

Image result for maddie mccrary golf
Maddie McCrary is my long shot pick.

Long Shot Pick:
Maddyie McCrary - I don't usually list a player here who doesn't enter the 2018 LPGA season with full time playing privileges. Having just conditional status means having to take full advantage of the few chances you might get, allowing you to move up on the LPGA Priority list during their player reshuffles that occur just twice during the season. It is a long shot. I am going to make an exception here, as she is an interesting story. Her parents, nor anyone in her family played golf at all. She has accomplished what she has due to her love of the game and incredible work ethic.  At this time last year, Maddie was recovering from "another hip surgery." In spite of that, last summer she was able to sink a 12 foot putt on the 17th hole to win the 96th Women's Texas Golf Association State Amateur Championship. She starts the season with a Priority List ranking of #168. But this is a feel good story, and one worth following. Don't count her out!

Other Tidbits:
Mariah Stackhouse took full advantage of her sponsor exemption at the Pure Silk LPGA Bahamas Classic, finishing tied for 11th place. This will help her get into many more tournaments when the LPGA has its first reshuffle. Unfortunatly for her though, the first reshuffle will not take place until after the 11th tournament of the season.

Stacy Lewis needed to birdie both the 17th and 18th hole in round two to make the cut. She did, extending her cut streak to 63 straight. Sung Hyun Park has the second longest streak at 31.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Danielle Kang moves up 3 spots to #17. Brittany Lincicome leaps up from #53 to #36, while Nelly Korda jumps up from #70 to #64. Further down the list Wei-Ling Hsu catapults up from #126 to #84.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Brittany Lincicome jumps out in front with 500 points. She is followed by Wei-Ling Hsu with 300. Amy Yang and Shanshan Feng share third place with 190 points.

Who's Hot:
Brittany Lincicome comes out of the gates with a victory. 

Who's Not:
In Kyung Kim, Brittany Lang, Yani Tseng, and Marina Alex all missed the cut.

This Week's Trivia Question:

How many different players occupied the number one spot on the Rolex Rankings in 2017? Can you name them?

Note: As you all can see, I have changed the look of this blog. Please take a moment to answer the poll question on the right side of the screen.

   (Currently 1,612 followers)


  1. Hi Tony, like the new website and layout. Keep up the excellent work.

  2. Looks sleek and modern. Nice.

    Jet Jockey

  3. Like the changes. Looks good. Noticed there is no link for the KLPGA leaderboard. Also, the link to the KLPGA Tour does not work. Appreciate what you do to bring LPGA content with analysis.
    - Sportsmedic

    1. Thanks. I will try to fix that after the Superbowl.


Post a Comment

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.


What in the World Has Happened to Yani Tseng?

The 2013 LPGA season has brought us lots of surprises. We have had first time winners. We have had winners from 7 different countries. Five Major Championships were played for the first time, with one player (Inbee Park) winning 3 of them. We have even had 4 players win multiple championships this year. However the biggest surprise to date has to be the tumble taken by Yani Tseng.

Yani started the 2013 season ranked as the #1 player in the world. In fact, at one point during the 2011 season, the #2 ranked player in the world (Na Yeon Choi), was closer to the 180th Rolex ranked player than she was to Yani at #1. It seemed Yani would be number one forever.

Let us look at some of her accomplishments:

In 2008, at the age of 19, Yani won the LPGA Championship.
In 2009, Yani became the fastest player in LPGA history to reach $2 million in career earnings. She did it in only 32 events.
In 2010 Yani won 3 times, including 2 more championships.
In 2011 Yani won 7 times, including 2 more major…

LPGA Player Profile: Sandra Gal (and much more)

Let me start off by giving a big congratulations to Brooke Henderson for winning the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women's Open. Brooke took the lead from Belen Mozo early in round four and never looked back. She shot a final round 3 under par 69 , to finish 271 (-17), which was 5 strokes better than runner-up Jing Yan.

For the 20 year old Henderson, who is in her second full year on tour, it was her fifth LPGA victory (which includes one Major Championship) and second this year.

With the LPGA having an unexpected week off (the Alisport LPGA tournament was cancelled) it gives some time to do another LPGA player profile.

The player I have chosen this week is Sandra Gal.

Born:  May 9, 1985
Hometown:  Cologne, Germany
Resides:  Orlando, Fla.
Rookie Year:  2008

Sandra has one victory on the LPGA Tour.

2011 Kia Classic

Best finishes in major championships:

ANA Inspiration - 15th in 2011KPMG Women's PGA Championship - 12th in 2015U.S. Women's Open - 3rd in 2012Ricoh Women's British Open …

LPGA Player Profile: Belen Mozo

With the LPGA taking a one week break before resuming its schedule in the United States, I thought it would be a good time to do my third LPGA player profile.

The player I have chosen this time around, may not be a household name like the first two were, but I have received a number of requests to do this profile.

Belen Mozo

Pronounced: (bay-LEN moh-thoh) Born: 9/25/88 (28 years old) Hometown: Cadiz, Spain Resides: Cartagena, Colombia College: USC Rookie Year: 2011 2016 Earnings: $76,263 (104th)

Belen has not yet won on the LPGA tour: Here are her best finishes: Finished 5th at the 2016 LPGA Volvik ChampionshipFinished 4th at the 2014 Manulife Financial LPGA ClassicFinished 10th at the 2014 Airbus LPGA ClassicFinished 5th at the 2011 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
Best Finishes in Major Championships: ANA Inspiration (formerly the Kraft Nabisco Championship) - Finished 41st in 2013KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Finished 58th in 2013U.S. Women's Open - Finished 55th in 2014Ricoh …

LPGA Player Profile: Beatriz Recari

With the start of the 2018 LPGA just a few days away, I would like to sneak in one more player profile.

The player I have chosen today is:

Beatriz Recari
Born:  4/21/87 (30 years old)
Hometown:  Pamplona, Spain
Resides:  Orlando, Fla.
Rookie Year: 2010
2017 Earnings:  $197,765 (77th)

Beatriz has won 3 times on the LPGA tour:

2010 - CVS/Pharmacy LPGA Challenge2013 - Kia Classic2013 Marathon Classic

Best finishes in major championships
ANA Inspiration - 25th in 2013KPMG Women's PGA Championship - 19th in 2013U.S. Women's Open - 27th in 2011Ricoh Women's British Open - 14th in 2016The Evian Championship -9th in 2013

Career Stats:

200 career starts144 cuts made (72%)24 top ten finishes (12%)Has $3,024,791 in career earnings (102nd on the all-time LPGA career money list)

Other career highlights:

Carded a career low 63 in the final round of the 2015 Honda LPGA Classic.In 2013, had two victories and seven additional top ten finishes as she crossed the $1 million mark in season earnings for t…