With the LPGA season about 40% complete (11 of 27 tournaments have been played), I would like to take a look at how the rookies are faring so far this year. I will do this again at the 70% mark and a final time at the end of the season. These ratings are strictly based on how they fared in LPGA events only. Any successes or failures on other tours are not considered here. My main objective here is to analyze the chances of these rookies retaining their LPGA cards next season. Ideally you would like to finish in the top 80 on the money list. That will guarantee you a priority list ranking good enough to compete in all full-field events. If you finish further down the money list you then have to worry about the top 10 ladies coming off the Symetra (ex-Futures) Tour, and qualifying school graduates getting to play ahead of you. If you finish in the top 100 on this year's money list, you will still play in most events next year. Further down the list than that, there are no guarantees about playing time. Let us see how they are doing so far.
In Priority List Order:
So Yeon Ryu - Hard to believe she is a rookie. She is the defending U.S. Open champion. The current leader of the 2012 Rolex Rookie of the Year award, she has never missed a cut on the LPGA tour. Has already amassed five top five finishes this year. Currently number 7 on this year's money list, she will not be worried about retaining her card for a long, long time. Grade A+
Lexi Thompson - Started out the year a bit slowly, but has picked up the pace. She has only missed one cut all year. Her second-place finish in Alabama is her best finish of 2012. She is currently #21 on the money list. At 17 years old, Lexi will not be worrying about retaining her card for many, many years. Grade A-
Kathleen Ekey - Player of the Year on the Futures Tour last year, Kathy came here with big expectations. She has not played up to those expectations so far, missing 6 out of 7 cuts. She is currently # 140 on the money list. Her excellent priority rating will get her many more chances this year. Grade D-
Mo Martin - When you are a rookie, making cuts is monumental if you want to retain your playing card. Mo has done that this year, making 6 of 8 cuts. Three top-30 finishes have her at up to #68 on the money list. We will be seeing her next year. Grade B-
Sydnee Michaels - With the exception of Ryu and Thompson, Sydnee has provided the most thrills so far this year. Was in contention until the final round at the Mobile Classic, and entered the final round this past weekend at the LPGA Championship just 3 shots off the lead. Experience will teach her how to handle those final rounds better. Currently number 75 on the money list, and rising every week, Sydnee should be a fixture on the LPGA Tour for years to come. Grade B
Jane Rah - Her season has been nothing short of disastrous. She has missed the cut in all 7 appearances this year. You can't retain your card if you don't make any money. Grade F
Numa Gulyanamitta - Numa has missed 5 of 8 cuts so far this year. Played well in Alabama, where she finished T26. Currently #111 on the money list, she will have to step it up a bit to retain her playing privileges. Grade C-
Marlin Beck - Like Jane Rah above, Marlin has missed all 7 cuts this year. Grade F
Sandra Changkija - Has missed 5 of 6 cuts; her best finish is a tie for 55th. Currently #125 on the money list, Sandra must step it up quickly, or go back to Q School. Grade D-
Maude-Aimee Leblanc - If asked who is the longest hitter on tour, most people will guess Lincicome, Lexi, Wie, or maybe even Yani. They would be wrong. Maude-Aimee is leading the tour in driving distance. She is also the tallest player on tour at 6 foot 2 inches tall. She has played well in spurts this year, with her best finish a T29 at the ShopRite Classic. She knows how to make cuts and is currently #86 on the money list. Look for this bomber to be on the LPGA Tour for years to come. Grade C+
Rebecca Lee Bentham - She has made 3 of 7 cuts this year, and her best finish is a T47. Currently #112 on the money list, she has a bit of work to do if she wants to be around next year. Grade C-
Cydney Clanton - Started the year with a bang as she finished T19 at the Australian Open. It has all gone downhill since then. Making only one additional cut in 8 appearances, she is sliding down the money list quickly. Still, at number 101 on that list, she is on the borderline of playing next year. Grade C
Stephanie Kono - Coming into her rookie year with high expectations, Stephanie has disappointed all of her fans. She has teed it up 7 times, and has yet to make a cut. Grade F
Victoria Tanco - Another huge disappointment, Victoria has made only 1 of 7 cuts this year. At #129 on the money list, she still has time to turn it around. Grade D-
Hannah Yun - Hannah has made just 2 of 7 cuts this year, but a T30 at the Kia Classic earned her some valuable money. Currently # 108 on the money list, she can go either way. Grade C-
Elisa Serramia - Elisa has missed the cut in 5 of the 6 tournaments she has played in. She has looked lost all year, as her best finish is a T70. Grade F
Lizette Salas - A pleasant surprise, Lizette has made 6 of 7 cuts this year. Her best finish was a T22 at the Kia Classic, and she is currently #62 on the money list. Looks like we will be seeing her next year. Grade B
Danielle Kang - A two-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion, we all know Danielle is going to be a star. Unfortunately she had a poor Q School result, which has limited her starts this year. The current priority list reshuffle will get her more starts the rest of the year, and we will see improvement on her current #127 money list position. Has made 2 of 4 cuts this year. Grade C-
The following players are also rookies, but because of their poor priority rankings have not gotten many starts this year. I give them all a grade of incomplete at this point, and with very little chance of any of them getting many starts the rest of the way, a miracle might be needed for them to avoid losing their cards. We will probably be seeing them in Q School this coming winter.
Veronica Felibert - Made 1 of 3 cuts, 143 on money list.
Lacy Agnew - Missed her only cut.
Min Seo Kwak - Missed her only cut.
Jacquai Concolino - Made 1 of 3 cuts, 144 on money list.
Mi Hyang Lee - Missed only cut.
Patacharajutar Kongraplan - Has not played on LPGA tour.
Valentine Derrey - Has not played.
Hanna Kang - Missed only cut.
Tze-Chi Lin - Has not played.
Mitsuki Katahira - Has not played.
Thidapa Suwannapura - Has not played.
Carlota Ciganda - Has not played.
Kirby Dreher - Has not played.
Juliana Murcia Ortiz - Has not played.
Katy Harris - Missed only cut.
Stacy Lewis has now passed Yani Tseng and taken the lead in the Rolex Player of the Year Award. Stacy has 123 points to Yani's 120. Who would have thought this 2 months ago?
Azahara Munoz's streak of 25 consecutive cuts made came to an end.
Caroline Hedwall's missed cut this week was the first of her career. She had made her first fifteen.
Suzann Pettersen, Eun-Hee Ji, and Gerina Piller are the latest to qualify.
Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis moves from #3 to #2, and Shanshan Feng moves from #10 to #5.
Hard to Believe Facts of the Week:
Na Yeon Choi was disqualified for not signing her scorecard.
Ai Miyazato who finished tied for 6th place, dropped from #4 to #6 in the Rolex Rankings. She was passed by Shanshan Feng and Suzann Pettersen.