Four of the 24 scheduled LPGA events are now in the book. The first major championship will be played this week.
I don’t get myself involved much with the after tournament recaps as we have The Constructivist, Ruthless Mike and Hound Dog who do such a fantastic job that I would rather read than write. What I like to bring to the table is statistical analysis with some humor thrown in once in awhile. My main purpose is to promote the LPGA. That said I have to take a moment to talk about Sandra Gal.
This win was a real shocker, probably the biggest surprise in a few years. Some people might want to compare it to Beatriz Recari’s win last year, but that win was not against a field that was anywhere near as strong as this one. Also she didn’t have to play the last 36 holes (in what turned out to be match play) head to head against the #2 player in the world.
As many of you know by now, my wife and I do quite a bit of traveling following these girls and in doing so get to meet most of them. I am not exaggerating one bit when I say we have never met anyone nicer than Sandra Gal. She is always ready to stop and talk to you, take a picture or sign anything you might want autographed. When asked after her victory why she wasn’t looking at Jiyai while she was putting for birdie on 18 she replied, “I didn’t want to go to a playoff but I never want to wish an opponent to miss a putt.” That is so typical Sandra. We all know about Paula and Jiyai (who lost with lots of class), but it is the unsung heroes like Sandra Gal and many others who make the fan experience the truly wonderful thing that it is.
With the year's 1st major coming up this week it will give players who are off to a bad start a chance to turn things around very quickly and it will give the players who are already playing well a chance to separate themselves from the rest of the playing field in the race for the major awards.
Current Player of the Year standings:
Karrie Webb – 69 points
Yani Tseng – 45 points
Sandra Gal – 31 points
I.K. Kim – 22 points
Creamer/Kerr - 18 points
Current Vare Trophy standings:
Yani Tseng – 69.93
Mindy Kim – 70.29
I.K. Kim – 70.33
Karrie Webb – 70.47
Sandra Gal – 70.64
Current Rookie of the Year standings:
Jenny Shin – 44 points
Hee Kyung Seo – 34 points
Christel Boeljon – 26 points
Jennifer Song – 26 points
Jenny Suh – 21 points
Sybase update: As most of you know by now, the top 10 players after 2 rounds of the Avnet Classic who haven’t already qualified will get into the Sybase Match Play Championship. After those players are determined the top 4 players from this year’s money list who are not in already will qualify. With 2 events to go here are the leading candidates:
Sandra Gal - $ 275,045 (she is a lock)
Mindy Kim - $ 79,905
Marcy Hart - $ 46,046
Pornanong Phatlum - $ 41,425
Amanda Blumenherst - $ 39,521
Chella Choi - $ 37,966
Kyeong Bae - $ 35,192
Pat Hurst – $ 33,158
Natalie Gulbis - $ 32,625
Other Interesting Notes:
Michelle Wie moves back into the top 10 this week moving from #11 to #9.
Inbee Park is the only player to drop out.
Sandra Gal takes a giant leap moving from #100 in the world to #44.
Whoever said that “driving is for show but putting is for dough” certainly knew what he was talking about. Here are some of this week's Kia Classic putting statistics.
Sandra Gal – 104 putts
Jiyai Shin – 119 putts (finished one stroke back)
Paula Creamer – 132 putts (finished 17 strokes back)
My hard-to-believe fact of the week:
Paula Creamer has 72 top 10 finishes in her career. She is 24 years old. No other active LPGA member under the age of 30 has more.