Three months have passed since I last did a report card on this year's rookies.
I would like to change this up a bit this time, by strictly rating these girls on their chances of retaining LPGA cards for the 2012 season. Any successes or failures on other tours are not considered here. My only concern here is, are they safe for the upcoming season, or will they have to go back to qualifying school?
For those of you who might need some information on how the LPGA "Priority List" works, here is a brief explanation:
If you finish in the top 80 on the 2011 money list, that will be your priority rating for 2012. In other words, if a player finishes #45 on the money list this year, she will be #45 on the priority list next year. That also means she will be eligible for all tournaments, since even limited fields have more than 45 players.
It starts to get real tricky after that, as players finishing 81-100 on the money list and 1-20 in 2011 qualifying school, then alternate onto the priority list. The top 5 players from the Futures Tour get ranked higher than this group.
If you finish outside the top 100 on the money list, your priority ranking will be so poor that you will not get into many events, or even lose your card. Many of these players will choose to go back to qualifying school to try to improve their ranking or even choose to play on another tour.
The above is a general explanation, as trying to list all the categories on the priority list is too time-consuming and potentially confusing. This link will go into more detail.
I have broken down the rookies into 5 categories, based on their chances of retaining cards, and/or a chance at a good priority rating, for next year.
Hee Kyung Seo - Has made over a half million dollars this year which ranks her #16 on the money list. Her 2nd-place finish at the U.S. Open, and 3 other top 20 finishes, has her leading the rookie of the year race and has secured her card for next year.
Ryann O'Toole - A huge surprise. She has missed only 2 of 8 cuts this year. Her top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open and the Safeway Classic has catapulted her to #37 on the money list. A Solheim Cup pick, she is secure for next year.
Caroline Hedwall - Has only played in 3 LPGA tournaments this year, but has made the best of her limited opportunities. Not missing a cut, she is #54 on the money list and we will be seeing much more of her next year.
Looking Very Good
Tiffany Joh - A strong second half, including last week's twelfth-place finish at the CN Open, has her #57 on the money list. She has made 6 of 8 cuts and is very close to clinching a spot for next year.
Jenny Shin - Her 6th-place finish last week at the CN Open turned around her entire season. Going from oblivion to #60 on the money list, it is a good bet we will be seeing her next year.
Christel Boeljon - She has played mostly in Europe this year, as her first priority was to make the Solheim Cup team. That accomplished, she will be playing the LPGA tour the rest of the year. Christel has only missed 2 of 8 cuts and has moved up to #74 on the money list. Already a solid player, retaining her LPGA card looks like a good bet.
Jennifer Song - Not playing quite as well as one would have expected. That said, she has made 7 of 12 cuts and is #76 on the money list. I'm looking for better things from her in the future.
On the Borderline
Jessica Korda - She has struggled mightily this year. Playing in 12 tournaments, she has made only 5 cuts. If that wasn't bad enough, 2 of the cuts she made were from sponsor's exemptions, where the money earned does not count on the money list. As a result, she is currently #92. Many think she is a future star; I think she better step it up soon.
Stephanie Sherlock - Has made just 4 of 10 cuts, but has a top-20 finish. Currently #94 on the money list, her fate has yet to be determined.
Not Looking Good
Haru Nomura - She has missed 5 of 9 cuts and sits at #102. Has the game to improve her ranking, but she better do it quickly.
Amelia Lewis - Her poor priority ranking has limited her to only 6 events this year. Currently #105 on the money list, she needs to take advantage of her opportunities or go back to qualifying school.
Danah Bordner - Has only made 4 of 10 cuts. At #108 on the money list, her chances are dwindling down to a precious few more events.
Belen Mozo - Her priority list ranking has gotten her plenty of opportunities to play. Too bad she hasn't taken advantage of them. She has made only 4 of 11 cuts, and her #116 money list ranking means she is in big trouble.
Dori Carter and Jennie Lee - Both have made only 3 of 8 cuts this year. Currently #133 and #130 respectively, it's now or never.
Sara Brown - This is as bad as it gets. Sara has missed the cut in all 8 tournaments she has played in.
Kimberly Kim, Allison Whitaker, and Shasta Averyhardt - Each has missed the cut in all 5 tournaments they have played in.
Jodi Ewart and Stephanie Kim - Only playing in one tournament apiece because of a terrible priority rating, they may not get any more chances to play. Stephanie has played 13 events on the Futures Tour and Jodi 12, but neither has played well there, either.