As we all know the 2012 LPGA season has come to its conclusion. It is time to take one final look at the 33 rookie players. These ratings are strictly based on how they fared on the LPGA tour this season. Any successes or failures on other tours are not considered here. Success in retaining their LPGA tour cards was the determining factor for my final grades.
So Yeon Ryu - The 2012 Rookie of the Year had one of the best rookie seasons of all time. She made 23 of 24 cuts, and was #6 on the money list. Winner of the Jaime Farr Toledo Classic, she had 12 top five finishes and 16 top tens. Already ranked #8 in the world, if she can turn some of those top 5's into victories she could climb all the way to the top.
Lexi Thompson - Even without a victory in 2012, Lexi had a terrific year. This seventeen year old star had 4 top 5 finishes and made 19 of 23 cuts. She finished #21 on the money list, which was better than some huge stars such as: Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, Hee Kyung Seo, and I.K. Kim. She has already vaulted up the world rankings to #24.
Lizette Salas - When the season started who would have thought she would be rated this high? Who even knew who she was? We know now. She finished 9th in Malaysia and had 5 top 20 finishes. She made 16 of 18 cuts and finished # 51 on the money list.
Sydnee Michaels - Sydnee really struggled coming out of the gate missing the cut in 4 of her first 7 events. She then settled down and had a fine rookie season. Sydnee opened some eyes with her 7th place finish at the Shoprite Classic, and went on to have 5 top 20 finishes. She ultimately went on to make 13 of 19 cuts and finish #62 on the money list. The U.S. Open takes the top 70 players from the LPGA money list, so Sydnee has earned her spot for next year.
Danielle Kang - Just like Michaels above, Danielle also made 13 of 19 cuts. She was in contention on the last day of the Kingsmill Classic, and wound up finishing 3rd. She had 4 top 20 finishes and wound up #52 on the money list. This two time amateur champion is going to be a top ten player very soon.
Consider Them a Success
Mo Martin - A late bloomer at 30 years old, Mo had a very good season. Making 15 of 21 cuts enabled her to climb to #63 on the money list. Her best finish was 14th at the Walmart Classic. I'll be keeping an eye on her next year to see if she can duplicate this year's performance.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc - A serious back injury ended her season after just 8 tournaments. At the time of the injury she was in the top 60 on the money list. She made 5 of 8 cuts, and was leading the entire LPGA in driving distance when her season came to abrupt end. Because of her injury, her place on the Priority list will remain the same, so if she is healthy we will be seeing a lot of her next year. This lady is a real dark horse.
Veronica Felibert - Veronica made only 5 of 14 cuts, but her year was considered a success because of a 4th place finish at the Walmart Classic. That finish enabled her to finish #75 on the money list. Not good enough for the U.S. Open, but good enough to play most everywhere else.
Carlotta Ciganda - Already a superstar on the Ladies European Tour where she won three times this year, Carlotta only teed it up on the LPGA 3 times. She made the cut easily in all three events ( U.S. Open, Evian Masters, and British Open), and finished #85 on the LPGA money list. Already ranked #57 in the world, it remains to be seen if she will play more on the LPGA tour next year.
Just Barely Good Enough
Numa Gulyanamitta - Making 8 of 16 cuts, Numa finished #87 on the money list. Her best finish was 21st at the U.S. Open.
Jacqui Concolino - Her 11th place finish at the Jaime Farr Toledo Classic saved her season, and allowed her to retain her card. She made just 4 of 11 cuts, and finished #95 on the money list. She will still get into most full field events next year.
Jane Rah - Jane's season might have been a disaster if it wasn't for a 9th place finish at the CN Open. She missed her first 10 cuts of the season before straightening herself out and making 5 of the last 6. At #92 on the money list she will be teeing it up in most events next year.
Retaining Their Card Through the Symetra Tour
Mi Hyang Lee - Because of her low priority rating, Mi got into just 5 tournaments last year. Making just two cuts and a best finish of T53, she finished #149 on the money list. That ranking would have had her going back to qualifying schoool, if it wasn't for the fact she finished in the top ten on the Symetra tour. That Symetra Tour finish will guarantee her full time playing privileges on the LPGA next year.
Thidapa Suwannapura - Playing in only one tournament on the LPGA this year because of a bad priority ranking, she played most of the season on the Symetra tour. Finishing in the top ten on that tour enables her to retain her full playing card for next year.
They Are Going Back to Qualifying School
The following players did not play well enough this year, and have registered to go back to Qualifying School to try and get their LPGA cards for 2013. Judging by past years, most of these players will fail and we will not be seeing them again. Phase 3 of Q-School will be played from November 28th to December 2nd. 126 players will be teeing it up in that 90 hole event. Only the top 40 players will get playing cards. Of that 40, only the top 20 will have a priority rating good enough to get full time playing privileges next year.
Lacy Agnew - Made just 1 of 7 cuts. Best finish 64th. 162nd on money list.
Karlin Beck - Made just 3 of 14 cuts. Best finish 46th. 146th on money list.
Rebecca Lee-Bentham - Made only 4 of 14 cuts. Best finish 41st. 134th on money list.
Sandra Changkija - Made just 4 of 14 cuts. Best finish 10th. 112th on money list.
Cydney Clanton - Made just 4 of 15 cuts. Best finish 19th. 121st on money list.
Valentine Derrey - Made 1 of 3 cuts. Best finish 62nd. 160th on money list.
Kirby Dreher - Made 0 of 5 cuts.
Kathleen Ekey - Made just 3 of 15 cuts. Best finish 45th. 142nd on money list.
Katy Harris - Made just 1 of 6 cuts. Best finish 64th. 161st on money list.
Hanna Kang - Made just 1 of 7 cuts. Best finish 35th. 165th on money list.
Mitsuki Katahira - Made 1 of 4 cuts. Best finish 55th. 155th on money list.
P.K. Kongkraphan - Made 1 of 3 cuts. Best finish 67th. 151 on money list.
Stephanie Kono - Made 0 of 14 cuts.
Min Seo Kwak - Made just 1 of 7 cuts. Best finish 37th. 148 on money list.
Tzu-Chi Lin - Made 1 of 4 cuts. Best finish 70th. 164th on money list.
Elisa Serramina - Made just 1 of 13 cuts. Best finish 70th. 157 on money list.
Victoria Tanco - Made 5 of 15 cuts. Best finish 37th. 118th on money list.
Hannah Yun - Made just 4 of 14 cuts. Best finish 30th. 117th on money list
Juliana Murcia Ortiz - Played one tournament, missed cut, and lost playing card. Didn't register for Q-School.