Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Super Soph Top 20: August 2007 Edition

With the Safeway Classic over and the U.S. Solheim Cup team announced, now is as good a time as any to update my May, June, and July Super Soph rankings. The main purpose of these rankings remains to determine who among the Rookie Class of 2006 has had the best career to date, with improvement and consistency the key criteria. Feel free to disagree in comments!

Top Super Sophs

1. Morgan Pressel: I'm keeping Pressel #1 this ranking by a hair over Seon Hwa Lee, despite Lee passing her in wins and season/career earnings. Her rankings are still better than Lee's, and so are her key stats. She's improved far more than anyone among the top Super Sophs, even though she's had 3 of her worst finishes of the year in her past 5 starts. Unless she picks it up, though, one or both of the fighting Lee's could easily pass her in the September rankings.
2. Seon Hwa Lee: You could make a great argument she should be the #1 Super Soph, and you know what? Tomorrow I'd probably agree with you. She and Pressel are that close.
3. Jee Young Lee: Her shoulder injury practically guarantees she'll be stuck in #3 through September. Too bad, as you could make a strong case she's the most improved of the top Super Sophs.
4. Ai Miyazato: Entering a late-season slump, with 5 of her 6 worst finishes of the year--including 2 straight missed cuts for the first time in her career--in her last 8 starts. Is it physical? Or is she down after seeing Seon Hwa Lee outplay her in another final round she had a great chance to walk away from with her first LPGA victory? In either case, her stats are now as down from last season's as Julieta Granada's.
5. Julieta Granada: A small and inconsistent late-season resurgence could put her ahead of Miyazato in the September rankings.

Certified Super Sophs

6. Brittany Lang: Another formerly top-level Super Soph who seems to be finding her game again. Got her first top 10 in forever in Canada and has made 5 of her last 6 cuts. Combined with truly bad play from Meaghan Francella, whose injury seems worse than she's letting on, and Kyeong Bae, who somehow still makes a ton of birdies despite hitting hardly any greens, Lang passes them in this ranking.
7. Kyeong Bae: See above.
8. Meaghan Francella: See above.

Super Sophs in Waiting

9. Hye Jung Choi: She's hit as bad a rough patch as anyone in her past several events, but the only one behind her to make a serious move on her was so far back she's not yet a threat to take away her "most likely to succeed" status.
10. Karin Sjodin: Disappointing results in Europe carried over to Canada. In danger of getting passed by Wessberg.
11. Sun Young Yoo: Pretty much the same story, if you replace Edmonton with Portland.
12. Linda Wessberg: I don't know how she does it when she hits so few greens, but she already has 3 top 10s in only 11 LPGA events. She should be playing more on this tour--would easily be the top European player in her class if she did (Rolex and the GSPI say she already is, but I disagree).

Super Potential

13. Teresa Lu: Lost "in waiting" status as her injury-induced slide continues. In danger of getting passed by Futcher and Hall.
14. Katie Futcher: Making a nice run at securing exempt status for 2008; with a better cut rate and position on the career money list than Hall, I have to rank her just a bit ahead of Hall for now, contra Rolex.
15. Kim Hall: Only thing holding Hall back is her terrible cut rate and her relatively low status on the career money list
16. Nina Reis: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again is her motto. But she'd better start succeeding if she wants to avoid Q-School.
17. Minea Blomqvist: Showing some small signs of life lately, enough to have a shot at avoiding Q-School.
18. Veronica Zorzi: She makes cuts at a fantastic rate but has trouble breaking into the top 50. Probably right to focus her efforts on the LET.
19. Virada Nirapathpongporn: Would have been passed by Kim if she, too, weren't going through a bad spell.
20. Na Ri Kim: I discovered she played more events in 2006 than I had previously thought, so I wouldn't put her in the Francella/Choi/Wessberg category any more. But still ahead of Hoagland.

For your reference--and mine--are the stats on which I'm basing the August ranking.

2007 LPGA Money List (rank), stroke average (compared to last year's), birdies per round average (compared to last year's), greens in regulation (compared to last year's): I'm going to focus on four key indicators of how well someone is playing this season--how much money they've made, how they're scoring, how many birdies they're averaging per round, and average greens in regulation per round. (I figure I can figure out how well they're hitting their irons and putting by comparing the last three figures, so I won't include putts per green in regulation here. And by comparing this year's and last's results on those same three figures, I can see who's improving and who's backsliding.) Some of the figures Hound Dog thinks are most important I'm looking at in the career stats (below), where I think they belong. These stats are all about the present and future.

1. Seon Hwa Lee, $906.4K (#6), 71.75 (+.45), 3.06 (-.40), 65.5% (-2.2%)
2. Morgan Pressel, $874.1K (#7), 71.15 (-.36), 3.43 (-.18), 67.3% (-3.7%)
3. Jee Young Lee, $862.3K (#8), 71.60 (+.14), 3.42 (-.47), 67.6% (-.5%)
4. Ai Miyazato, $753.7K (#11), 72.47 (+1.25), 2.91 (-.80), 58.7% (-9.6%)
5. Meaghan Francella, $442.4K (#25), 73.13 (-.62), 2.67 (?), 61.7% (?)
6. Julieta Granada, $376.5K (#31), 72.71 (+1.38), 2.48 (-.72), 61.3% (-6.7%)
7. Brittany Lang, $293.4K (#36), 73.14 (+1.79), 2.68 (-1.20), 64.5% (-4.9%)
8. Kyeong Bae, $275.0K (#38), 72.75 (+.42), 3.28 (+.24), 58.2% (-9.3%)
9. Hye Jung Choi, $224.6K (#46), 73.04 (+.14), 2.70 (?), 60.8% (?)
10. Karin Sjodin, $167.8K (#56), 73.53 (+.72), 2.72 (-.77), 61.8% (-6.3%)
11. Linda Wessberg, $127.9K (#67), 73.16 (-4.34), 3.00 (?), 51.2% (?)
12. Kim Hall, $124.7K (#69), 73.57 (-.17), 2.41 (-.11), 56.5% (-8.8%)
13. Teresa Lu, $108.6K (#77), 73.19 (+.30), 2.55 (-.36), 63.7% (-3.0%)
14. Sun Young Yoo, $98.4K (#80), 73.27 (+.74), 2.57 (-.39), 62.1% (-6.9%)
15. Katie Futcher, $78.9K (#88), 73.92 (+1.09), 2.56 (-.35), 60.8% (-7.0%)
16. Minea Blomqvist, $76.1K (#90), 74.11 (+1.07), 2.68 (+.01), 56.1% (-4.5%)
17. Nina Reis, $47.3K (#115), 73.76 (+.85), 2.74 (-.03), 58.4% (-7.6%)
18. Na Ri Kim, $44.0K (#117), 74.22 (-2.73), 2.43 (?), 61.9% (?)
19. Ashley Hoagland, $31.2K (#130), 73.78 (+.90), 2.11 (?), 57.5% (?)
20. Virada Nirapathpongporn, $30.8K (#131), 73.82 (+.36), 2.77 (+.40), 59.2% (-2.1%)


Career LPGA Money List (rank), LPGA Majors/Wins/Top 3s/Top 10s/Made/Missed Cuts Percentage (and totals): About the only thing these stats are useful for is comparing people who entered the LPGA in the same year. Between inflation, changing purses, and length/timing of careers, it's very hard to compare and contrast winnings across generations of LPGA greats. Fortunately the Super Sophs have not even been at this for two years, so the career money list is a decent stat for comparing their short careers, even if it's a bit unfair to people who were not exempt in either or both years. What would really be great is if we had a world money list in inflation-adjusted dollars, with inflation- and exchange-adjusted other cash denominations added in (or just totalled up separately to avoid comparing dollars and yen), which included all each golfer earned as a professional on any tour. But even the guys don't have that, so that'll have to remain a dream for now. I include these other ways of seeing how the Super Sophs finished relative to their competition in the tournaments they entered because they reveal a lot about how well someone is able to compete at every level, from just making cuts to getting top 10s, top 3s, and victories. So here's how they stand:

1. Julieta Granada, $2.01M (#78), 0/1/5/10/.776 (38/49)
2. Seon Hwa Lee, $1.82M (#88), 0/2/6/12/.958 (46/48)
3. Jee Young Lee, $1.44M (#111), 0/0/4/14/.952 (40/42)
4. Morgan Pressel, $1.34M (#117), 1/1/4/16/.905 (38/42)
5. Ai Miyazato, $1.29M (#123), 0/0/4/13/.846 (33/39)
6. Brittany Lang, $.83M (#183), 0/0/2/9/.681 (32/47)
7. Kyeong Bae, $.56M (#227), 0/0/2/6/.738 (31/42)
8. Meaghan Francella $.45M (#253), 0/1/1/4/.571 (12/21)
9. Sun Young Yoo, $.33M (#284), 0/0/0/2/.711 (32/45)
10. Karin Sjodin, $.29M (#302), 0/0/0/3/.605 (23/38)
11. Hye Jung Choi, $.24M (#335), 0/0/0/2/.667 (14/21)
12. Katie Futcher, $.20M (#350), 0/0/0/2/.622 (23/37)
13. Nina Reis, $.19M (#353), 0/0/0/2/.634 (26/41)
14. Teresa Lu, $.18M (#361), 0/0/0/1/.600 (21/35)
15. Virada Nirapathpongporn, $.17M (#370), 0/0/0/1/.486 (17/35)
16. Kim Hall, $.16M (#385), 0/0/0/1/.393 (11/28)
17. Minea Blomqvist, $.15M (#388), 0/0/0/0/.533 (16/30)
18. Linda Wessberg, $.13M (#406), 0/0/0/3/.545 (6/11)
19. Veronica Zorzi, $.08M (#451), 0/0/0/0/.800 (12/15)
20. Na Ri Kim, $.05M (#501), 0/0/0/0/.429 (9/21)
21. Ashley Hoagland, $.05M (#508), 0/0/0/0/.462 (6/13)


Other Career Measures: Rolex Ranking (as of 8/27/07) and rank, Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index (as of 8/26/07) and rank, International (as of the end of the 2006 season) and Non-Member LPGA Wins: This is a way of seeing how those Super Sophs who sometimes or regularly or always compete on other tours stack up over the course of their careers to date (the RR includes results over the past 104 weeks on the LPGA, LET, JLPGA, KLPGA, and Futures Tour; the GSPI includes results over the past 52 weeks on all these tours except the KLPGA).

1. Morgan Pressel, 6.81 (#8), 70.35 (#7), 0
2. Ai Miyazato, 5.84 (#12), 70.86 (#23), 14
3. Jee Young Lee, 5.41 (#15), 70.33 (#6), 2
4. Seon Hwa Lee, 4.93 (#17), 70.83 (#22), 3
5. Julieta Granada, 3.91 (#29), 71.86 (#42), 0
6. Brittany Lang, 2.64 (#44), 72.62 (#66), 0
7. Meaghan Francella, 2.57 (#46), 72.45 (#61), 0
8. Linda Wessberg, 1.85 (#69), 72.92 (#80), 5
9. Kyeong Bae, 1.68 (#75), 72.19 (#55), 3
10. Karin Sjodin, 1.26 (#106), 73.00 (#88), 1
11. Veronica Zorzi, 1.12 (#118), 73.51 (#122), 2
12. Hye Jung Choi, 1.08 (#124), 72.69 (#69), 0
13. Sun Young Yoo, .98 (#136), 72.91 (#79), 0
14. Teresa Lu, .90 (#144), 73.48 (#120), 0
15. Minea Blomqvist, .87 (#150), 74.02 (#159), 5
16. Kim Hall, .78 (#168), 74.39 (#192), 0
17. Louise Stahle, .76 (#177), 73.05 (#89), 0
18. Nina Reis, .71 (#188), 73.51 (#123), 5
19. Katie Futcher, .59 (#209), 73.81 (#142), 0
20. Virada Nirapathpongporn, .53 (#229), 74.62 (#214), 0
21. Na Ri Kim, .25 (#345), 74.30 (#183), 0
22. Ashley Hoagland, .23 (#360), 73.62 (#140), 0

3 comments:

The Constructivist said...

Turned this into a Waggle Room diary.

hounddog said...

As poorly as Miyazato has played since HSBC, I think she's still significantly ahead of Granada (even adjusting for 2006 performance). Ai has only missed four cuts in '07 compared to seven for Julieta. Ai has her beat in Top 10s 6 to 3.

The Constructivist said...

All true, but did you see how off both their scoring, birdie, and GIR averages are fro last year? I was shocked to see how close they were on these stats. Show how streaky golf is--put together consistent play for a few days in a row a few weeks a year and you can be a top 20 money list player. What Ai-chan needs is to get to the next level. Maybe playing with Sorenstam Thursday will help her....