Friday, December 4, 2009

JLPGA Q-School Final Qualifying Tournament Friday: It All Comes Down to This

Let's get right down to brass tacks and summarize briefly how the players I've been following throughout the 72-hole Final Qualifying Tournament to determine membership status on the JLPGA for 2010 ended up. I'll list them in the order I predicted they'd finish in:

1. Seon Hwa Lee: 70-70-73-71 (-4, 3rd)
2. Sun Ju Ahn: 71-73-70-70 (-4, 2nd)
3. Inbee Park: 73-65-74-72 (-4, 4th)
4. Candie Kung: 70-72-73-79 (+6, 24th)
5. Teresa Lu: 73-75-72-69 (+1, 7th)
6. Young Kim: 74-68-69-71 (-6, 1st)
7. Onnarin Sattayabanphot: 72-79-75-80 (+18, 85th)
8. Na Ri Kim: 72-69-76-69 (-2, 6th)
9. Kumiko Kaneda: 77-77-75-78 (+19, 88th)
10. Ritsuko Ryu: 75-79-73-72 (+11, 39th)
11. Jae Bae: 71-70-76-72 (+1, 9th)
12. Yuki Sakurai: 72-74-78-84 (+20, 89th)
13. Sakurako Mori: 76-77-80-72 (+17, 77th)
14. Bong Su Tseng: 73-74-71-81 (+11, 44th)
15. Kaori Higo: 73-73-67-77 (+2, 11th)
16. Michiko Hattori: 75-73-78-75 (+13, 53rd)
17. Eun Hye Lee: 73-75-72-74 (+6, 23rd)

As you can see, there were a bunch of shocking final-round collapses from those who had been playing decently and far too many bad rounds from players I expected to play solidly this week. But there were some nice charges, as well. Teresa Lu shot a bogey-free 31 on the back to notch a top 10

Others who I could have included in my top 20 but didn't (in part because 3 of my picks didn't compete this week) ended up outplaying many of my picks:

Ikue Asama: 77-69-69-70 (-3, 5th)
Esther Lee: 69-72-76-75 (+4, 16th)
Chieko Amanuma: 70-72-77-74 (+5, 19th)
Toshimi Kimura: 75-76-74-69 (+6, 22nd)
Orie Fujino: 73-75-74-75 (+9, 35th)
Ya-Huei Lu: 72-75-74-77 (+10, 37th)
Mayumi Shimomura: 75-77-73-75 (+12, 46th)
Woo-Soon Ko: 80-76-76-75 (+18, 85th)

Going by the 2008 Final Qualifying Tournament results, it appears to me that everyone who completes all 4 rounds gets some sort of status on tour in the following year. Ritsuko Ryu finished 93rd at +21 last year, but got into 7 Step-Up Tour and 8 JLPGA events this year, finishing #100 on the money list. So even players like Ko, Sattayabanphot, Kaneda, and Sakurai should have decent odds of playing their way into the top 50 on the JLPGA in 2010, despite their disastrous play this week, if they can avoid missing as many cuts as Ryu ended up doing. Someone like Yumiko Baba, who finished in the mid-50s in Q-School last year, got into 15 JLPGA events this year, but finished #104 on the money list, despite making only 4 cuts. Meanwhile, Maria Iida finished in the high-30s in last year's Q-School, but still played in 30 JLPGA events this year, finishing 46th on the money list and securing full membership for 2010.

So my guess is anyone in the top 50 of this year's Q-School should be able to get into just about any JLPGA event she'll want to next one. It'll be interesting to see just how many events that turns out to be for the big-name LPGAers who have secured dual membership: Candie Kung, Seon Hwa Lee, Inbee Park, Young Kim, and Teresa Lu. By my count, Kung and Lu will bring the total of Taiwanese players with full JLPGA membership next season to 6. When you take into account the 18+ Korean players who will be joining them, it looks like Japan's former colonies are getting some concrete benefits from globalization.

No comments: