Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Super Soph Top 20: October 2007 Edition

With only the Mizuno Classic, the Tournament of Champions, and the ADT Championship left to play, it's time to update my May, June, July, August, and September 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 consistency and improvement the key criteria. Feel free to disagree in comments!

Top Super Sophs

1. Seon Hwa Lee: Holds onto her #1 ranking for the second (and what should be the third) time in a row.
2. Morgan Pressel: Has a chance to pass the $1M mark on the season if she can recover from her late-season slump in her last two tournaments.
3. Jee Young Lee: Back from her injury, looking to join the $1M club, and due for her first win soon--maybe even this year.

Certified Super Sophs

4. Ai Miyazato: Showing some signs of life after revealing that she's been struggling with a nagging injury since her runner-up finish at the HSBC, but no longer close to the top 3. [Update 11/3/07: Here's hoping her friend Louise Stahle does well in Q-School, because there are no big names from the JLPGA in the field for yet another year.]
5. Julieta Granada: Needs a late charge over the next two weeks to sneak her way into the tournament she won last year and salvage a disappointing 2007.
6. Brittany Lang: Looking to improve on her best finish since the Canadian Women's Open in Thailand (T11) at the Mizuno Classic this week and build some positive momentum for 2008.
7. Kyeong Bae: Has shown she can make cuts--she's on pace to pass Granada in cut rate soon--and if she continues to show improvement in GIR is bound to win in 2008 on the LPGA.
8. Meaghan Francella: Holding on to one of the last two spots for the ADT Championship by her fingernails; has a chance for a great finish to the year if she plays well at the Tournament of Champions and ADT.

Super Sophs in Waiting

9. Hye Jung Choi: Won in Korea, but not enough to move her up this LPGA ranking. Still most likely to succeed of this group.
10. Linda Wessberg: Next-most-likely to succeed. Like Bae, can win in 2008 if she starts hitting more greens.
11. Sun Young Yoo: A late charge has helped salvage her 2007, but needs to do more than make cuts if she wants to move up the ranking.
12. Teresa Lu: Can extend her lead on Sjodin with a good finish in Japan.
13. Karin Sjodin: Looking to end her late-season slump in Japan.

Super Potential

14. Katie Futcher: Looks like it's back to Q-School to try to improve on her non-exempt status for 2008. [Update 11/3/07: Surprise, surprise! Futcher is not in the final field at Q-School.]
15. Nina Reis: Gave it the old college try on the LPGA for two years, but as a fully exempt player in 2008 on the LET likely to play there full-time and reduce her LPGA schedule to Zorzi-like proportions. [Update 11/3/07: Shows what I know: Reis is in the Q-School final field.]
16. Minea Blomqvist: In the same boat as Futcher. Did not try for Q-School on the LET, so putting all her eggs in the LPGA basket for 2008. [Update 11/3/07: Yet not playing in Q-School. Curious.]
17. Kim Hall: Exempt for 2008. Goes to show that one tournament can make your season, no matter how few cuts you make.
18. Virada Nirapathpongporn: Played better at the end of the season, but still in the same boat as Futcher and Blomqvist. [Update 11/3/07: And unlike them, she's actually going to Q-School.]
19. Veronica Zorzi: Full-time LET player content with non-exempt LPGA status, it appears, as she can make cuts but can't seem to crack the top 50 here.
20. Na Ri Kim: In the same boat as Nirapathpongporn, except for the playing better at the end of the season part. Is she KLPGA-bound in 2008? [Update 11/3/07: I guess a lot depends on her Q-School results.]

For your reference--and mine--are the stats on which I'm basing the October 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, $1.06M (#6), 71.60 (+.30), 3.10 (-.36), 66.4% (-1.4%)
2. Morgan Pressel, $.95M (#9), 71.26 (-.25), 3.46 (-.15), 67.7% (-3.3%)
3. Jee Young Lee, $.93M (#10), 71.62 (+.16), 3.45 (-.44), 68.2% (+.1%)
4. Ai Miyazato, $.77M (#16), 72.92 (+1.70), 2.93 (-.79), 57.5% (-10.8%)
5. Meaghan Francella, $.49M (#27), 72.94 (-.81), 2.73 (?), 63.9% (?)
6. Julieta Granada, $.40M (#33), 72.87 (+1.54), 2.59 (-.61), 61.3% (-6.7%)
7. Brittany Lang, $.33M (#37), 73.16 (+1.81), 2.73 (-1.15), 64.3% (-5.1%)
8. Kyeong Bae, $.31M (#39), 72.84 (+.51), 3.31 (+.27), 59.8% (-7.7%)
9. Hye Jung Choi, $.27M (#46), 73.20 (+.30), 2.66 (?), 61.3% (?)
10. Karin Sjodin, $.18M (#61), 73.72 (+.91), 2.72 (-.77), 62.0% (-6.1%)
11. Teresa Lu, $.17M (#63), 72.90 (+.01), 2.87 (-.04), 65.0% (-1.7%)
12. Linda Wessberg, $.17M (#64), 72.93 (-4.57), 3.10 (?), 54.1% (?)
13. Kim Hall, $.13M (#74), 73.84 (+.10), 2.40 (-.12), 57.8% (-7.5%)
14. Sun Young Yoo, $.13M (#75), 73.03 (+.50), 2.65 (-.31), 63.6% (-5.4%)
15. Minea Blomqvist, $.09M (#93), 73.96 (+.92), 2.64 (-.03), 57.2% (-3.4%)
16. Katie Futcher, $.08M (#95), 74.04 (+1.21), 2.50 (-.46), 61.1% (-6.7%)
17. Nina Reis, $.05M (#118), 73.84 (+.93), 2.77 (+/-.00), 59.5% (-6.5%)
18. Na Ri Kim, $.04M (#122), 74.15 (-2.80), 2.46 (?), 62.0% (?)
19. Virada Nirapathpongporn, $.04M (#123), 73.48 (+.04), 2.82 (+.45), 61.1% (-1.2%)
20. Ashley Hoagland, $.03M (#136), 73.78 (+.90), 2.11 (?), 57.5% (?)

Career LPGA Money List (rank), LPGA Majors/Wins/Top 3s/Top 10s/Made Cuts Rate (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 been at this for barely 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, $2.03M (#78), 0/1/5/10/.759 (41/54)
2. Seon Hwa Lee, $1.98M (#80), 0/2/6/14/.963 (52/54)
3. Jee Young Lee, $1.51M (#104), 0/0/4/15/.957 (44/46)
4. Morgan Pressel, $1.41M (#112), 1/1/4/17/.915 (43/47)
5. Ai Miyazato, $1.30M (#119), 0/0/4/13/.814 (35/43)
6. Brittany Lang, $.87M (#179), 0/0/2/9/.673 (35/52)
7. Kyeong Bae, $.59M (#226), 0/0/2/6/.745 (35/47)
8. Meaghan Francella $.49M (#243), 0/1/1/4/.654 (17/26)
9. Sun Young Yoo, $.36M (#275), 0/0/0/2/.729 (35/48)
10. Karin Sjodin, $.31M (#296), 0/0/0/3/.643 (27/42)
11. Hye Jung Choi, $.28M (#311), 0/0/0/2/.654 (17/26)
12. Teresa Lu, $.25M (#331), 0/0/0/2/.625 (25/40)
13. Katie Futcher, $.20M (#351), 0/0/0/3/.600 (24/40)
14. Nina Reis, $.19M (#356), 0/0/0/2/.591 (26/44)
15. Virada Nirapathpongporn, $.19M (#361), 0/0/0/1/.513 (20/39)
16. Linda Wessberg, $.17M (#376), 0/0/0/3/.643 (9/14)
17. Minea Blomqvist, $.16M (#381), 0/0/0/0/.563 (18/32)
18. Kim Hall, $.16M (#383), 0/0/0/1/.387 (12/31)
19. Veronica Zorzi, $.09M (#450), 0/0/0/0/.813 (13/16)
20. Na Ri Kim, $.05M (#501), 0/0/0/0/.375 (9/24)

Other Career Measures: Rolex Ranking (as of 10/29/07) and rank, Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index (as of 10/28/07) 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, 5.78 (#10), 70.60 (#9), 0
2. Jee Young Lee, 5.29 (#13), 70.37 (#7), 2
3. Ai Miyazato, 4.93 (#16), 71.93 (#40), 14
4. Seon Hwa Lee, 4.75 (#18), 70.81 (#20), 3
5. Julieta Granada, 3.19 (#38), 72.54 (#63), 0
6. Meaghan Francella, 2.29 (#50), 72.36 (#57), 0
7. Brittany Lang, 2.24 (#51), 73.15 (#84), 0
8. Linda Wessberg, 1.86 (#67), 72.21 (#46), 5
9. Kyeong Bae, 1.51 (#82), 72.39 (#58), 3
10. Hye Jung Choi, 1.25 (#101), 73.00 (#78), 0
11. Karin Sjodin, 1.07 (#119), 73.38 (#105), 1
12. Teresa Lu, 1.01 (#129), 73.31 (#99), 0
13. Sun Young Yoo, .96 (#135), 72.49 (#61), 0
14. Veronica Zorzi, .92 (#138), 73.82 (#141), 2
15. Minea Blomqvist, .79 (#161), 73.86 (#144), 5
16. Kim Hall, .75 (#168), 74.23 (#179), 0
17. Nina Reis, .58 (#212), 74.06 (#166), 5
18. Virada Nirapathpongporn, .53 (#226), 74.20 (#174), 0
19. Katie Futcher, .49 (#237), 73.99 (#158), 0
20. Na Ri Kim, .20 (#373), 74.74 (#225), 0


The Constructivist said...

As usual, made this a Waggle Room diary.

The Florida Masochist said...


If Jee Young Lee wins, she wouldn't be a Rolex first time winner. Her 2005 Nine Bridges/Kolon win counts as an official LPGA tour title.

BTW I got media credentials for the ADT. I'll be covering the tournament for Outside the Beltway Sports.


The Constructivist said...

Bill, congrats--great news! From what I can tell, the LPGA is counting Lee's win as a non-member victory. She became a LPGA member in 2006 and that's why she's "only" a Super Soph. So I'm wondering if they would still list her as a Rolex 1st-timer if she were to win as a member. Something to ask Bivens when you meet her, I guess!

The Florida Masochist said...

I have to be nice to Bivens. No calling her a Knucklehead. LOL.

About Jee Young, I'll ask an LPGA media employee whether her win counts or not. Shi Hyun was rookie of the year in 04, but won the nine bridges in 03.

How about some year end award

Best Player- Ochoa
Best Rookie- A Park
Comeback Player of the Year- Dunno Maria Hjorth?
Surprise of the year- Francella
Biggest collapse- Se Ri and Pettersen at the Nabisco
Most exciting finish- Steinhauer/C Kim battle at the State Farm
Which one don't belong award- Maria Hjorth at the Match Play. She was the only non-Asian in the semi-finals.
The What me worry? award- Se Ri Pak for meeting Pressel's hole-in-one with a birdie of her own at the Jamie Farr
Mom of the year- Juli Inkster edges Catorina Matthew
New Moms of the year- Hee Won, I think Karen Stupples, and anyone else I can find out.
The 'Scotty and the search team' award- Michelle Wie. Where did her golf game go?
I got that monkey off my back award- Ochoa, C Kerr and N Gulbis. The first two for winning a major, Gulbis for winning.
The I survived award- Brittany Lincome's win at the Ginn Open
Biggest splash- Morgan Pressel at the Nabisco of course.
Biggest letdowns- Karrie Webb, Meena Lee, Pat Hurst, only 4 Koreans in 2007 winner's circle.

Watch out if Karrie has another big year, they'll give her comeback player of the year again. Last year was a joke, I mean Webb's golf game hadn't fallen apart like Se Ri's
Shot of the year- Don't know. I'm willing to hear suggestions.

Any other suggested awards?

The Florida Masochist said...

Oh there's this award

Keep on living award- Duramed player Jenny Hansen. Her husband jeff was killed in iraq in 2006.

The Constructivist said...

Dude, I'm not stealing your idea for a great post. Run with it. Why not put out a call for awards/nominees, listing the ones you've selected, and make it an annual tradition at TFM?

In that spirit, I wonder if Pettersen is old enough to be considered for a comeback of the year? Or maybe give Hjorth the credit since she disappeared for so long and save surprise of the year for Pettersen. (Since she came back from a similar injury as Sorenstam, I wonder if Annika is consulting her on rehab tips.) Pressel ought to be a candidate for the "I survived" award, although I agree Lincicome's should win. I think Catriona Matthew counts as a new mom, unless you're only counting 2007 births, and so should win that category in addition to runnering-up on Inkster. The Davies-Pettersen finish is a rival to the Steinhauer-Kim one, but b/c it wasn't televised in the US, you had to be watching the webcast to really judge it....

The Florida Masochist said...


Good suggestions but hardly anyone comments at my blog. My call for nominees will get next to no reply if it even gets one.

The golf post I got the most comments for was the one about Annika skipping the Canadian Open, and I have a suspicion someone was behind that.

The aren't you happy for electronic scoreboards award- Prammanasudh and Nirapathpongporn battle atop the Navistar leaderboard for three rounds.


The Constructivist said...

Have you tried doing a diary at Waggle Room?