Monday, September 13, 2010

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

With both Ai Miyazato and Ya Ni Tseng winning since my August assessment of the top players with 3 to 6 LPGA victories, it's about time to recalibrate my take on who among them are most likely to add to their totals in 2010's stretch run.

Most Likely to Win (a Lot) in 2010

1. Ya Ni Tseng (5 wins/3 majors): With 3 LPGA wins (including 2 majors) and 1 LET/ALPG win in 2010, she's very close to putting together a history-making season.
2. Ai Miyazato (6/0): The only 5-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 pretty darn great of graduating from this list this season.
3. Na Yeon Choi (3/0): I don't see any reason that she won't add to her growing victory total in the LPGA's home stretch. She's the most consistent contender of anyone on this list, after all. [Update (11/7/10): I forgot to mention that win #4 for Choi may not have moved her past Miyazato in my "most likely to win next" ranking, but it did put her in a position to win all 3 major season-long races on the LPGA.]
4. Suzann Pettersen (6/1): Ji-Yai Shin beat her to exiting this list and Miyazato might well be next. But given that she has time to rest her hip and spend some quality time with her putter, I wouldn't be surprised to see her take the money-list title and the Vare Trophy.

The Contenders

5. Angela Stanford (4/0): It's not like 2010 has been a bad season for her, but with the tour's hottest players in a feeding frenzy when it comes to winning, she's going to have to rest her shoulder and come back stronger than before to start getting in contention again. It's amazing to me that she hasn't even entered the top 10 since the ShopRite!
6. Brittany Lincicome (3/1): She's pretty much convinced me she's for real this time around, but until she overcomes her "onebadrounditis," she won't be contending with any regularity on the LPGA.
7. Seon Hwa Lee (4/0): This has been a real "1 step forward, 2 steps back" season thus far. Here's hoping her great finish in NW Arkansas gives her some momentum for the rest of the year.

Quantum Leap Candidates

8. Sophie Gustafson (5/0): It's amazing to me that her best LPGA finish this season was a T10 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship!
9. Maria Hjorth (3/0): She got 2 top 10s in her 1st 4 LPGA starts this season but hasn't done anything special since.
10. Hee-Won Han (6/0): Yikes, she's missed a lot of cuts lately!
11. Catriona Matthew (3/1): Ditto.
12. Candie Kung (4/0): Her T3 at the Kia Classic has been the only real bright spot in seriously blah season thus far, but at least she's been making a lot of cuts.
13. Pat Hurst (6/1): She got her 4th top 20 of the season at the Canadian Women's Open, but that's a far cry from graduating from this list.

On the Bottom, Looking Up

14. Wendy Ward (4/0): With only 2 top 20s all season, she's really struggling to find her game.
15. Lorie Kane (4/0): Fantastic T11 at the CWO means that maybe this season won't be her last stand on the LPGA, after all.

On the Outside, Looking In

16. Grace Park (6/1): She hasn't competed since her WD from the LPGA Championship with a back injury and missed cut (with a walkoff double) at the Farr.
17. Wendy Doolan (3/0): She hasn't played on the LPGA since mid-May. Hope she's ok.
18. 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 extended her missed cut streak on the LPGA to 23 events. Is her career as a professional golfer coming to a close?

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