Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Best on the LPGA: 3- to 6-Time Winners, August 2010

With Ji-Yai Shin graduating from the July version of this list and Ya Ni Tseng winning the Women's British Open, it's about time to recalibrate my take on which players are most likely to add to their win totals. I wonder whether we'll be seeing more players graduate from this list than join it over the rest of the season....

Most Likely to Win (a Lot) in 2010

1. Ya Ni Tseng (4 wins/3 majors): In July, I wrote, "Comparatively overshadowed by the other new additions to this list, she could still break out any time." Like at Royal Birkdale? Wish I could say I called it, but I picked the former #1 on this list, who got bumped to #3.
2. Na Yeon Choi (3/0): There's no reason the newest addition to this list won't add to her growing total in the 2nd half of the season. She's the most consistent contender of anyone on this list, after all.
3. Ai Miyazato (5/0): The only 4-time winner in the world of women's golf in 2010 won't graduate from my "best without a major" list until next season at the earliest, but I'd say her odds are good of graduating from this list this season.
4. Suzann Pettersen (6/1): Shin beat her to exiting this list, but I doubt anyone else will. Once she rests her hip, as she can in August and September, she'll be back at full strength for the LPGA's stretch run in October through December. Maybe by then she'll have her putting issues worked out, as well.
5. Angela Stanford (4/0): She still hasn't gotten hot this season, but it's still been a pretty solid one thus far. Given how well she's driving the ball and putting, all she needs is better iron play to start getting in contention again. With her shoulder issues, the LPGA's spotty schedule for the next couple of months may be a blessing in disguise.

The Contenders

6. Brittany Lincicome (3/1): She's starting to convince me she's for real this time around. But until she overcomes her "onebadrounditis," she won't be contending on the LPGA.
7. Seon Hwa Lee (4/0): This has been a real "1 step forward, 2 steps back" season thus far. Hopefully the August break will do her good and she'll come ready to play on the LPGA later this month and the JLPGA in September. Her GIR and PPGIR rates are simply unacceptable for a player of her abilities. She's too short a hitter to be able to afford to have lost 12-18 yards off the tee from her previous seasons, as she has thus far in 2010. She's actually in danger of failing to qualify for the Asian swing!
8. Hee-Won Han (6/0): She actually had her season going in the right direction, thanks to a hot putter, until she missed the cut at the U.S. and British Opens. Since having a child, she's lost a little distance off the tee and a lot of accuracy with her approach shots. If she would start hitting more greens, I'm confident she'll start putting herself in contention again.
9. 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.
10. Maria Hjorth (3/0): It's been an on and off season for her thus far--she's never finished outside the top 30, except for those 5 events she didn't finish at all because she missed the cut in them. Horrific putting is the clear culprit in her case.
11. Catriona Matthew (3/1): Missed cuts at the U.S. and British Opens have made the 2nd quarter of the season a deeply disappointing one for her, but she's still in the top 30 of the money list and will improve on her standing if she can get her putter going.

Quantum Leap Candidates

12. Candie Kung (4/0): Her T3 at the Kia Classic has been the only real bright spot in a kind of blah season thus far, but as hard as she's been working on her putting lately, she should start to see some results soon.
13. Wendy Ward (4/0): Even with a closing 77 at Oakmont, her T14 at the U.S. Women's Open was the highlight of the 1st half of the season. She recovered from a horrendous start to 2010, so let's see if she keeps improving in the 2nd half of the year. She needs to drive for more show and putt for more dough!
14. Pat Hurst (6/1): She's 59th on the money list, but missed the cut in all 3 recent majors. That closing 65 at the ShopRite that earned her her best finish of the season (T16) is feeling more and more like a distant memory.
15. 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 turned a 66 or better into a 68. That's been the way 2010 has been going for her thus far, which is why she's 82nd on the money list. Here's hoping the 2nd half of the season treats her better. I'm rooting for her to turn it around.

On the Bottom, Looking Up

16. Wendy Doolan (3/0): She hasn't competed on the LPGA since mid-May. Hope she's ok.
17. Lorie Kane (4/0): Her best finish this season is a T35 at the ShopRite, but she's been DQed once and missed 3 cuts. Even so, she's managed to hold onto the 98th spot on the money list thus far, so maybe this season won't be her last stand on the LPGA.

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, to go with 4 missed LPGA cuts. Is her career as a professional golfer coming to a close?

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