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Surprises & Disappointments 2018 - Part 1

Although the LPGA has completed  only about 20% (7 of 33 tournaments) of its 2018 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:
Image result for pernilla lindberg
Pernilla Lindberg has been the year's biggest surprise so far.

1- Pernilla Lindberg - I had to rewrite this one this week. I don't care what her results were coming into this week (she did have a couple of top 25 finishes), winning the ANA Inspiration makes her the year's biggest surprise to date. Lindberg currently finds herself #1 on the Player of the Year standings, and #2 on the year's official money list.

2- Jin Young Ko - We expected her to run away with the Rolex Rookie of the Year award. We even expected her to be a top player in her rookie season. What we (or I) didn't expect is for her to be in the top three in just about every major statistical category at this point of the season. Her game appears to have no noticeable weaknesses. 

3- Hannah Green - As I said above, you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to predict that Jin Young Ko would run away with the Rookie of the Year award. The only question was who would finish second. Most people thought it would be Georgia Hall, but she has not played all that well yet this year. Hannah turned some heads with her 3rd place finish in Australia, and has 2 other top 16 finishes. She is only player even challenging Ko for top honors.

4- Bronte Law - Law had a mediocre rookie season in 2017, finishing #91 on the money list. This year has been a much different story. She has teed it up just 5 times so far this year, failing to finish in the top 25 just once. A 6th place finish in the Bahamas has been the highlight of her season so far. She currently resides at #31 on this year's money list.

5- The Korda Sisters - Still recovery from major face surgery, Jessica is playing the best golf of her LPGA career. She has teed it up just 4 times this year, but has not had a finish worse than 26th. She has already won this year in Singapore, and had a 4th place finish this past weekend at the ANA Inspiration. She finished #26 on the money list last year, and is currently #3. Nelly has been just behind her most of this season. She finished 2nd in Thailand, and had a 6th place finish in the Bahamas. Nelly had a fine rookie season last year, finishing #47 on the year end money list. This year she is #14.

Honorable Mentions: Marina Alex, Caroline Masson, Wei-Ling Hsu.

Biggest Disappointments:
Image result for lydia ko
Lydia Ko seems to be searching for some answers.

1- Lydia Ko - It's not like Lydia is having a terrible season, she is just having a terrible season for Lydia Ko. She seemed to start declining last year when she fell down to #20 on the season end money list, and things have gotten much worse this year. In six starts she has managed just one top ten finish, and that was a 10th place finish in Singapore. She has now gone 41 tournaments without a single victory. She is currently #41 on the year's money list.

2- Haru Nomura -  Someone should fill out a missing person's report, because the real Haru Nomura has not shown up yet this year. In six starts Nomura has not finished better than 40th, and has failed to make it to the weekend 3 times. She currently finds herself #105 on the money list.

3- Mi Hyang Lee - Another player that has not played even close to her previous form this season. In five starts, she has only made the cut twice. Her best finish this year was a tie for 22nd. She finished #22 on the 2017 money list, and is #86 this year.

4- Mi Jung Hur - M.J. had a career year in 2017, finishing #14 on the money list. A drop this year was widely expected, but certainly not this steep. She doesn't have a top 20 finish this year, and is currently #72 on the money list.

5- Mirim Lee - Mirim is a player that I don't expect to be on this list when I do my next update. In six starts she doesn't have a top 25 finish yet this year. She finished #20 on the money list last year, she is currently #55.

Other Disappointments: Hyo-Joo Kim, Georgia Hall, Candie Kung, Sandra Gal.

Other Tidbits:
Amy Yang had her cut streak stopped at the ANA this past weekend at 22 straight. Megan Khang had hers stopped at 21.

Charley Hull's 6th place finish this past weekend at the ANA Inspiration was her 5th top 25 finish of the season. She is tied with Ariya Jutanugarn and Austin Ernst for the LPGA lead.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Inbee Park makes the most important move this week, jumping up from #9 to #3.
Pernilla Lindberg surges up from #95-34, while Jennifer Song leaps up from #69 to #40.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Inbee Park takes over the lead with 968 points. She is followed by Jin Young Ko with 799 and Jessica Korda with 789. Michelle Wie (779) and Ariya Jutanugarn (773), fill out the top 5.

Who's Hot:
With her 4th place finish this past weekend, Ariya Jutanugarn becomes the first LPGA player to have three top five finishes this year.

Who's Not:

Mi Hyang Lee has missed 3 consecutive cuts.

This Week's Trivia Question: 
What player recorded the biggest come-from-behind victory in 2017?

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

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.  They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog. Tournament results will be posted here at the end of each round. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found on the right side of this page (or on pull down menu on mobile website).


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