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Rating the 2018 LPGA Rookies - Part 1

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 9 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. 

* There will be some major changes at the end of this season regarding the new qualifying tournament. That will be discussed at a later date.

 Let's take a look at how they are doing so far. 
Image result for jin young ko
Jin Young Ko started the season as the favorite to win top rookie honors and has lived up to all expectations.

In alphabetical order: (SA = scoring average, ML = money list)

Lori Beth Adams - She is the only rookie to not appear in a single tournament this year. Grade Incomplete

Rebecca Artis - As a two time winner on the LET (Ladies European Tour) and a member of the 2016 UL International Crown team, Rebecca figured to be one of the top rookies of 2018. That hasn't been the case. She has made just two cuts in seven starts, with a best finish of 39th place. She is currently #122 on the year's money list and needs to play much better in the months ahead. Grade D

Tiffany Chan - Tiffany has made cuts, but she hasn't made money. In spite of making 5 cuts in 8 starts, she sits at #126 on the money list. That is because she has not finished better than 51st in any event this year. She is 116th in greens in regulation, and 132 in putting. That is not a good combination. Grade D

Lauren Coughlin - Lauren has had plenty of opportunities, but hasn't cashed them in. In eight starts she has seen the weekend just 2 times, and sits at #145 on the money list. Her scoring average of 75.33 doesn't tell a good story. Grade D-

Katelyn Dambaugh - Katelyn started the season with a solid 19th place finish in Australia. Unfortunately it has been all downhill since then. In her other six starts she has failed to finish better than 69th, and has fallen all the way down to #112 on the money list. Grade D+

Gemma Dryburgh - Not much to say here. Eight starts and eight missed cuts. Her 74.63 scoring average tells us why. Grade F

Martina Edberg - With a Priority List ranking of #174 she hasn't gotten many chances. That said, to survive on this tour you must take advantage of the few opportunities that come your way. Martina has failed to finish better than 71st in her two starts, and is #150 on the ML. Grade F

Allison Emrey - She has played just 2 tournaments this year, making one cut and finishing 50th in the other. With this week's reshuffle, her Priority List ranking improved from #181 to #159, so she might see more action in weeks to come. Grade D

Hannah Green - Hannah tore up the Symetra Tour last season winning three times and registering nine top fives and twelve top tens. In my pre-season rookie analysis I picked her the 4th best rookie of 2018. She has been much better than that. She is currently #2 on the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings. Her 3rd place finish in Australia got her season off to a flying start, and she has also registered finishes of 11th and 16th place. Her scoring average of 72.04 is excellent, and she is #30 on the year's money list. Grade B+

Jennifer Hahn - Hasn't made a cut in any of her three starts and has a scoring average of 75.33. Grade F

Georgia Hall - When the 2018 season started it was quite clear that if anyone could challenge Jin Young Ko for rookie honors it was this young lady. She started the season fine with a 13th place finish, but we haven't heard from her since. In seven starts she has already missed three cuts, and currently is #97 on the money list. Her scoring average of 72.00 tells us that her results should be better. Look for a big improvement here the next time I revisit this subject. Grade C+

Jin Young Ko - What can I say about her that hasn't been said over and over in recent weeks? She has played in nine tournaments this year and has made nine cuts. She is the only rookie to win this year (in Australia) and even has a 2nd place finish. She already has six top ten finishes, and is currently #7 on the ML. Her scoring average of 69.65 is third best on tour, and she leads in greens in regulation. Grade A+

Nanna Koerstz Madsen - Another player who just tore up the Symetra Tour last year, winning three times and having six top five finishes. One of the tour"s biggest bombers, she has had a hard time keeping it in the fairway (127th in driving accuracy). Surprisingly, she has made just three cuts in eight starts. and hasn't finished better than 31st. Her scoring average of 73.29 should improve as the year progresses. So should her current standing of 108 on the ML.  Grade C

Erynne Lee - Erynne started out the season fine, making her first three cuts including a 7th place finish at the Founders Cup. Then everything came crashing down. She has missed the cut in her last five starts, and her 73.95 scoring average needs to improve. She is still in pretty good shape at #77 on the money list, but she needs to stop this downward spiral soon. Grade C+

Harang Lee - Failed to make the cut in both her starts, and has a scoring average of 74.25. GradeF

Camilla Lennarth - Because of a Priority List ranking of #179, she has just teed it up twice this year. To her credit she has made the cut both times. The LPGA had their first Priority List reshuffle this week and she moved all the way up to #150. This will get her into quite a few more tournaments going forward. Her scoring average of 72.50 is better than most on this list. Grade C+

Yu Liu - Yu's year turned around this past weekend when she finished in 3rd place at the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic. Don't let the fact that the tournament was cut to 36 holes fool you. This is a player to keep an eye on. She currently is #45 on the money list, and her scoring average is a solid 72.35. She has made five cuts in her eight starts. Grade B

Brittany Marchand - Hasn't had any big finishes, but has made the cut both times she has teed it up this year. Her Priority List ranking improved this week from #171 to 155, which will result in many more starts going forward. Grade C

Maddie McCrary - Maddie is a real feel good story. She has recovered from multiple hip surgeries to play her way on to the LPGA tour. Because of a high priority ranking (#169) she has only teed it up twice this year with a best finish of 32nd place. The only rookie to top her 72.00 scoring average to date is Jin Young Ko. She should get more starts from here on in as this week's Priority List reshuffle has moved her up to #157. Grade C

Image result for maddie mccrary golf sexy
From multiple hip surgeries to the LPGA, Maddie should get more starts now with her new placement on the Priority List.

Mind Muangkhumsakul - Has also teed it up just twice, but has missed the cut both times. Her scoring average of 76.00 will not get it done. Grade F

Alexandra Newell - Another player who has teed it up just twice this year. She finished 71st in the only event where she saw the weekend. Her scoring average is 75.67. Grade F

Leticia Ras-Anderica - Leticia has had three opportunities to impress so far this year, but has failed to do so. She has missed two cuts and finished in 57th place in the other. She has a scoring average of 74.33 and is currently #155 on the ML. Grade F

Robynn Ree - Robynn has teed it up seven times this year and has made three cuts. Her best finish has been a tie for 34th place. She currently resides at #120 on the money list and needs to improve that soon if she wants to stay on the LPGA Tour. Her scoring average also needs to improve as it is currently at 73.75. Grade C-

Katelyn Sepmoree - Another player with only two starts this year because of her #184 placement on the Priority List. She has a best finish this year of 46th place. With the reshuffle this week, she has moved up to #161 which should get her more starts, including next week in Virginia. Grade D

Luna Sobron - Has played regularly this year, teeing it up eight times but just making three cuts. She does have one top 30 finish, and a not so bad (for a rookie) 72.75 scoring average. She will continue to get plenty of chances to improve on her 114th place money list ranking. Grade C

Emma Talley - One of just five women to win both the NCAA and U.S. Women's Amateur titles, she has not disappointed so far this year. Emma has teed it up eight times and has only missed two cuts. She already has two top tens and is 3rd so far this year in the rookie standings. She comfortably sits at #44 on the ML, and has a very solid 72.11 scoring average. Grade B+

Kassidy Teare - Has failed to take advantage of her many chances this year. She has teed it up eight times but has seen the weekend just twice. She has failed to finish better than 67th in any event. Her scoring average of 74.80 and her placement of #143 on the money list tells us she better improve fast if she wants to keep her playing privileges. Grade D-

Maria Torres - Maria has also teed it up eight times this year and managed to make just three cuts. Her best finish is 31st, and she sports a 74.33 scoring average. She will still get many more chances to improve her #117 ranking on the year's money list. Grade C-

Samantha Troyanovich - Has had just two opportunities this year, but has not capitalized on them. She missed one cut and finished out of the top 40 in the other. Her scoring average is 75.23 and she sits at #147 on the money list. Grade D-

Lindsey Weaver - Lindsey has done a good job in sticking around for the weekend, making 5 of 8 cuts, but hasn't been able to achieve that one really good performance. Her stats are not bad. She has a scoring average of 72.68 and is currently #95 on the money list. Right now she is right on the borderline of being safe or not for next year. She will still get plenty more opportunities to improve her standing. Grade C+

This Week's Trivia Question:  (for those who missed it earlier)

Since the LPGA established the Player of the Year Award in 1966, only four players have won the award at least four time. How many of those players can you name?

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


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