Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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

With In-Kyung Kim joining this list of the top players with 3 to 6 LPGA victories, it's time to recalibrate my September assessment of who among them is likeliest to win next and focus on who's most likely to take the LPGA Tour Championship next month. A lot's dependent on which courses they play at Grand Cypress, so I reserve the right to change my mind in the final PakPicker, but for what it's worth, here's my list!

Most Likely to Win In Orlando

1. Suzann Pettersen (6 wins/1 major): Look her up in the dictionary under "D-U-E."
2. Na Yeon Choi (4/0): A win would lock up the prestigious 2010 Mostly Harmless LPGAer of the Year award for her. Not that she needs the extra motivation.
3. In-Kyung Kim (3/0): It would be fitting if she closed the season with 2 wins in a row, just like the player I'm ranking after her opened it.
4. Ai Miyazato (6/0): She's got 1 last chance this year to join Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, and Karrie Webb among active and recently-active players in the 6-win-season club and become only the 2nd Japanese golfer in history (after the legendary Ayako Okamoto in 1987) to win the LPGA's Player of the Year award. I'm rooting for her, but she'll be dealing with some serious jet lag after playing the JLPGA's season-ending major, the Ricoh Cup, the week before. Still, wouldn't it be amazing if she ended 2010 with 8 Hall of Fame points to her name?
5. Ya Ni Tseng (5/3): A win for her would make the race to be the 1st to follow Ji-Yai Shin in graduating from this list pretty intense in 2011!

The Contenders

6. Angela Stanford (4/0): Breaking the tournament record in Lorena's invitational with a final-round 63 and not even coming close to catching In-Kyung Kim just about sums up her season.
7. Brittany Lincicome (3/1): She's pretty much convinced me she's for real this season, but until she overcomes her "onebadrounditis," she won't be contending with any regularity on the LPGA.
8. Seon Hwa Lee (4/0): The sooner her 2010 is over, the happier she'll be.

Quantum Leap Candidates

9. Candie Kung (4/0): All of a sudden, she's playing the best among the LPGA's veterans on this list. She hasn't finished outside the top 30 since missing the cut at the Navistar.
10. Maria Hjorth (3/0): She started the season with 2 top 10s in her 1st 4 LPGA starts but hadn't done much since and had even missed 4 cuts in a row heading into the Asian swing, so of course she got a T3 in Malaysia and a T14 in Japan!
11. Sophie Gustafson (5/0): 2010 has been a big letdown after a fantastic 2009--her T18 in Korea was only her 5th top 20 of the year--but a win in Orlando would end the year on a high note!
12. Hee-Won Han (6/0): She had missed 3 cuts in a row heading into the Asian swing, but didn't finish outside the top 40 on it. Still, her T18 in Korea was only her 5th top 20 of the season.
13. Pat Hurst (6/1): She got her 5th top 20 of the season in Malaysia, but that's a far cry from graduating from this list.
14. Catriona Matthew (3/1): She, too, broke out of her missed-cut funk on the Asian swing, but never finished as highly as she did in Lorena's event (T25), a far cry from the relative quality of her 1st half of the season.

On the Bottom, Looking Up

15. Wendy Ward (4/0): A T5 at the CVS salvaged her season, but she wasn't able to follow up on it effectively on the Asian swing.
16. Lorie Kane (4/0): Her fantastic 11th-place finish at the CWO means that this season won't be her last stand on the LPGA, after all. At #87 on the money list heading into the LPGA Tour Championship, she'll definitely will be within the top 100 at season's end and will be able to get into most 2011 events.

On the Outside, Looking In

17. 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.
18. Wendy Doolan (3/0): She hasn't played on the LPGA since mid-May. Hope she's ok.
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. This season, her only made cut was at the Navistar, bringing her total to 1 for 25 in the last 2 seasons. 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.

No comments: