Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Atsui, Samui, Daijo Bu: Global Edition

With events happening on the LPGA, JLPGA, LET, Futures Tour, and China LPGA this past week, it's going to be even tougher to get on my lists of hottest, coldest, and all-rightest women's golfers on the planet.


1. Hee Kyung Seo: Sometimes it's good to take a week off. With the hottest LPGAers struggling, this KLPGA superstar, who has a major and 7 other victories on tour from the 2nd half of 2008 on, is the officially the world's hottest female professional golfer.

2. Sakura Yokomine: Let's see: she's got a 23-event JLPGA top-20 streak going, with 2 wins, 10 top 5s, and 19 top 10s in that run. The last 6 weeks, she's finished 1-2-3-2-6-6. If she could only close the deal more often, she'd be in the #1 spot on the hot list.

3. Lorena Ochoa: Her T19 finish in her bid to get her 4th straight win at the Sybase makes it 6 straight rounds in the 70s for the player with the lowest scoring average and most wins on the LPGA in '09. Look for that trend to end after she skips the Corning yet again.

4. Cristie Kerr: With 2 wins, 2 runner-ups, 15 top 10s, and 23 top 20s in her last 26 events, she's been on quite a run for the past year, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and attributing her T47 finish at the Sybase--the worst in that stretch--to a post-victory hangover.

5. Angela Stanford: Her T65 at the Sybase was her worst finish in her last 13 events (her previous worst had been 15th), so it's a good thing many of the other hot players struggled almost as much as she did in NJ and the ones who did well have blemishes of their own. Hanging onto her #5 spot by the "most wins in the fewest number of recent LPGA events" skin of her teeth.

Honorable Mention

Suzann Pettersen: Two weeks ago, all her great streaks ended at 5 top 20s, 4 top 10s, and 3 top 5s in a row. But I was right last week to ask whether we should "say hello to a new streak this week." She was a shaky putter away from her first win on the LPGA since 2007.

Paula Creamer: Followed up her T2 at the JLPGA's 1st major with a jetlagged T3 in NJ. Not bad!

Ji-Yai Shin: T13 at the Sybase, even with a bad final round, bodes well for a player whose game usually heats up with the weather.

Ji-Hee Lee: How good has she been playing since the start of the 2008 season? Well, not only does she have the longest run of great play in the world of women's golf going, she's also finished in the top 10 in 11 of her last 14 JLPGA events, including 2 wins, a runner-up, and 8 top 5s. The single blemish in that run, a T31, is her only finish outside the top 20 since her missed cut in the opening event of 2008. So never mind that she blew up in the rain on Sunday and finished just outside the top 10 in Fukuoka.

Mi-Jeong Jeon: The heartbreak queen of the JLPGA managed a top 10 last week despite a similarly weak final round in the Fukuoka rains, for her 6th in her 8 events of 2009.


1. Julieta Granada: Continued her new missed cut streak last week. Her best finish of the year is a T53, far better than her 6 MCs....

2. Louise Friberg: That makes 7 MCs in 9 starts in '09.

3. Shanshan Feng: Followed up her 1st top 20 of the year with a missed cut last week.

4. Shiho Oyama: Followed up her 1st career LPGA top 10 by missing the cut by a single stroke at the Sybase.

5. Stacy Prammanasudh: Now riding a 4-event missed-cut streak.

Dishonorable Mention

Inbee Park: Got her 3rd MC of the season last week and 2nd in a row.

Minea Blomqvist: Got her 3rd finish inside the top 50 in '09 last week.... Are things looking up for one of the LPGA's most entertaining players?

Daijo Bu

1. Yuri Fudoh: Last week, I warned, "watch out for her to win any time soon on the JLPGA"--well, she responded with a T2 finish!

2. Ai Miyazato: A 76 on Sunday dropped her to 18th place, but as that's my lucky number, I'm picking her for the win this week at Corning!

3. Song-Hee Kim: When she's good, she's very very good--3 top 6s in 8 events is nothing to sneeze at--so let's give her credit for snagging a top 20 without her A-game last weekend.

4. Ya Ni Tseng: Finally failed to get a top 20 last week at the Sybase, the 1st time in her last 11 events.

5. Karrie Webb: T23 thanks to a terrible final round at the Sybase, but still playing well.

Honorable Mention

Michelle Wie: Her T3 last week caps off a 3-event top 20 run, a huge surprise for me because I didn't expect her game to fit Upper Montclair CC's layout. Let's see how she does at the Corning!

In-Kyung Kim: Her 2nd-straight top-5 finish last week was her 3rd of the season; looks like she's regaining her form from the 2nd half of last season.

Yuko Mitsuka: Last season ended well for her on the JLPGA, with 3 straight top-5 finishes and 5 straight top 20s. She already has a win and just got her 4th top-5 finish of the season last week in Fukuoka.

Chie Arimura: Got off to a terrible start in '09, but she's followed up her win 3 weeks ago with a T11 and a T6 in her last 2 events, so things are looking bright for this young Japanese star.

Brittany Lang: Ouch, T23 at a course she's played great is was not what she needed last week.

Jee Young Lee: Her T23 at the Sybase makes it 3 missed top 20s in a row now, very worrisome for a player with 7 top 10s and 3 top 5s in her last 13 events.

Katherine Hull: Same old song as the last 2 weeks: "Too many bad holes taking away her momentum lately. But could put herself in contention any given week."

[Update 1 (9:56 am): Hound Dog has adjusted his Hot 20 formula a bit. But his criteria remain quite a bit different--and less subjective--than mine.]

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