I wonder if we'll keep seeing this list grow over the rest of the season or whether it'll start shrinking, as more players graduate from it than join it? In any case, it's ranked by my best guess at who's most likely to get her next win the soonest.
Most Likely to Win (a Lot) in 2010
1. Ai Miyazato (5/0): The only 4-time winner in the world of women's golf in 2010 is also my top candidate to graduate from the "best without a major" list this season.
2. Ji-Yai Shin (6/1): A closing 64 at the Farr reminds everyone why one of her nicknames is the "Final Round Queen" and probably signals her full recovery from emergency appendectomy just over 3 weeks ago. That's good, because time is starting to run out on those 4 wins I predicted for her this season. [Update (7/25/10): And before the month is out, Shin pulls another Final Round Queen-worthy round out of her hat on a Sunday, beating Morgan Pressel with a walkoff birdie at the Evian Masters. She's the 1st to graduate from this list!]
3. Suzann Pettersen (6/1): Talk about due! I wonder if she'll be the 1st player to graduate from this list.
4. Ya Ni Tseng (3/2): Comparatively overshadowed by the other new additions to this list, she could still break out any time.
5. Na Yeon Choi (3/0): The newest addition to this list earned her way the hard way. Twice on the weekend it looked like she was going to run away with the Farr, but twice she rebounded back to the field. But a clutch walkoff birdie to get into a 4-way playoff and a clutch wedge 2 holes later and she had secured her 3rd career victory on the LPGA!
6. Angela Stanford (4/0): She's had a 1 step forward, 2 steps back kind of season thus far, but there's nothing wrong with her game that hitting more greens wouldn't help.
7. Seon Hwa Lee (4/0): She's finally starting to show some signs of life this season. I'm confident she'll click into gear soon.
8. Hee-Won Han (6/0): She's starting to play better this season, and putting great. If she were hitting more greens, she'd be a threat to contend every week.
9. Catriona Matthew (3/1): The defending Women's British Open champ is ready to go! But that DNS from the Farr is a little troubling.
10. Brittany Lincicome (3/1): She's got the talent to contend every week, but needs to harness her power to do so. A few fewer wild drives per week and a couple more hit fairways per round and she'd be scary good.
11. Sophie Gustafson (5/0): Things aren't coming easy for her this season, particularly her ball-striking. But she knows her game so well she can turn it around any time.
12. Maria Hjorth (3/0): She's showing flashes of her old self, but both her ball-striking and her putting need work.
Quantum Leap Candidates
13. Candie Kung (4/0): I saw her working on her putting for hours at the LPGA Championship, but the results just haven't followed her hard work yet this season. She came out of nowhere in the middle of a bad 2009 to contend at the U.S. Women's Open, though, so don't count her out this time around!
14. Grace Park (6/1): She had to WD from the LPGA Championship with a back injury and missed the cut with a walkoff double at the Farr. That's been the way 2010 has been going for her thus far, but there have also been flashes of brilliance. Here's hoping the 2nd half of the season treats her better.
15. Pat Hurst (6/1): It's been a blah season so far for Hurst. Let's see if she can turn it around.
16. Wendy Ward (4/0): She got off on the wrong foot this season and hasn't found her stride yet. A balky putter is the main culprit here.
On the Bottom, Looking Up
17. Wendy Doolan (3/0): She hasn't competed on the LPGA since mid-May. Hope she's ok.
18. Lorie Kane (4/0): Her last LPGA stand is going better lately than how it started, but she'll need to hit more greens to keep her card.
On the Outside, Looking In
19. Dorothy Delasin (4/0): This 2000 Rookie of the Year had been struggling to keep her card from 2006-2008, but she fell off a cliff in 2009, going 0 for 16 in made cuts and even bombing out of Q-School. Her 1st 4 years on tour when she averaged a win a year and was a consistent top 30 threat are a distant memory now. This season, she's only played 1 Futures Tour event and failed to break 80 in 2 tries in Texas, and missed 4 LPGA cuts, as well [thanks, Jamie!]. Is her career as a professional golfer coming to a close?
[Update 1 (7/6/10, 9:22 pm): Great profile of Na Yeon Choi over at the Seoul Sisters blog!]