There were 124 players that teed it up for this 90 hole event. They would cut the field after the 72nd hole to the top 70 players and ties. There were players entered from all over the world. There were players from the LET, JLPGA, KLPGA, Symetra Tour, and players trying to earn their card for the first time. There were players trying to win back their card after losing it this past year because of poor play. Too put it simply, players' livelihoods were at stake.
This field of of 124 players were all fighting it out to finish in the top 20. You might have read that the top 45 players would receive LPGA cards. That is quite misleading. If you finish in the top 20 you receive Category 12 Priority Status. That means that you have earned full time playing privileges in 2013. If you finish in the number 21-45 spots you receive Category 17 Priority Status. That means you actually have an LPGA card, but the chances of you ever getting into an event are slim to none. If you happen to get into an event and play well, you can improve your status during one of the two LPGA reshuffles next year. The problem is it is hard to improve your status if you don't get to tee it up.
Now more about those 20 ladies who did earn their full time privileges.
As you could imagine, with 124 participants and only 20 full time spots available, it would be a long shot for your favorite player to get in. To make it even more difficult there were several players from other tours that were already stars, and very highly ranked, that were sure shots to be one of the 20. Or so we thought.
Who in their right mind would have thought that Melissa Reid, one of the top players on the LET, would open with a 79 and shoot herself out of it in the first round?
Who would have thought that such seasoned veterans as Reilly Rankin and Meaghan Francella would not finish in the top 45 and lose their playing cards?
Did anyone think that Solheim Cup veteran Cristina Kim would finish 39th, leaving her with little or no chance of playing on the LPGA next season?
There were pleasant surprises also.
Kathleen Ekey suffered through back problems during her rookie season in 2012, barely making a cut.
She shot a tournament low 65 in the final round and finished in 4th place.
Rebecca Lee Bentham, who had a miserable rookie year making just 4 cuts, finished the co-leader.
There was also the expected.
Moira Jutanugarn was the other co-leader.
Japanese stars Ayako Uehara and Chie Arimura breezed in with little trouble.
Caroline Masson, the German born LET star, also made it in quite easily.
Here is the complete top 20 players who earned full playing status for 2013:
|T11||Marina Stuetz (a)||-4|
The 2013 Rookie of the Year race should be very competitive next year.
Chie Arimura is already ranked #19 in the Rolex World Rankings.
Caroline Masson is ranked #50, and at 23 years old has her best years ahead of her.
Ayako Uehara is ranked #69.
These 3 players will be the favorites.
Add to that future stars, Esther Choe and Victoria Elizabeth, who earned their cards on the Symetra Tour, and Brook Pancake who led Alabama to the 2012 NCAA Championship, and we should have one hell of a race.