Monday, December 3, 2012

LPGA Q-School Shocking Results

The LPGA completed its schedule a couple of weeks back, but its most important event took place this past weekend. There was not a lot of coverage, that seems to be reserved for the men, but if you're an LPGA fan this was a most interesting weekend.

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:

T1Rebecca Lee-Bentham-13
T1Moriya Jutanugarn-13
3Ayako Uehara-12
4Kathleen Ekey-10
T5Chie Arimura-8
T5Lisa McCloskey-8
7Felicity Johnson-7
T8Karlin Beck-6
T8Laura Diaz-6
10Stephanie Sherlock-5
T11Kayla Mortellaro-4
T11Kim Welch-4
T11Brooke Pancake-4
T11Austin Ernst-4
T11Caroline Masson-4
T11Marina Stuetz (a)-4
T17Lauren Doughtie-3
T17Irene Cho-3
T17Taylore Karle-3
T17Nicole Jeray-3

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.


Awsi Dooger said...

I think it's Category 17, not 18, for 21-45. Not that I'd understand the difference, at this point.

Ginger Howard surprised me, along with Melissa Reid. Howard seemingly was cruising toward a card late last summer, with numerous wins on the Suncoast Series and excellent results in early Q School stages. Then she fell off late at final stage. I assumed she'd qualify easily via Symetra this year but it didn't happen. Now she struggled again here, making the cut but hugging the bottom on Sunday. I have to remind myself that the teenagers aren't guaranteed to maintain form.

Kim Welch was a pleasant surprise but I felt awful for Kelly Jacques, shooting 75 on Sunday when 74 was all she needed. Every previous round was 70 or 71. Kelly narrowly missed a short putt for full status on the first sudden death hole in the playoff. She's 26, not freshly out of college. Every opportunity is vital.

Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

Thank you, I changed it to category 17.

I felt so bad for Kelly also. She is real sweet.

The Symetra Tour should be interesting this year with Jaye Marie Green, Cheyenne Woods and Emily Tally, all vying for those 2014 cards.

Pete said...

It's nice to see several of the mini tour players I've had the privelage of meeting getting full time status, like Taylore Karle. It's going to be fun watching them start their LPGA careers.

Awsi Dooger said...

It's interesting the LPGA bunched everyone from 21-45 into the same priority category. Previously it was 21-30 in category 16 and 31-40 in category 20. The Futures Tour (Symetra) 6-10 from the money list were in a separate category between those two. Now that Symetra 1-10 receive full cards I assume they are similarly placed as Q School 1-20 and far ahead of 21-45 but I haven't checked the specifics. Also, is category 17 significantly worse than 16? Do the players from 21-30 at Q School take a big hit compared to recent seasons?

Maybe someone can throw together a projected priority list. I plead lazy.

Dave Andrews said...

I think Christina Kim will get into 6 or 7 events based on her status from the 2012 season (107 or so on the money list)
My understanding is that the 101 to 125 finishers will fall in line behind the 10 Symetra Tour finishers and 1-20 from Q School, plus any medical exemptions that carry over.
One player I follow, Hannah Yun, finished 117 on the money list this year. She did poorly in Q School. I believe she will be ranked about 150th on the priority list when the season begins and could get into 5 or 6 events with that.

Dave Andrews said...

P S... I believe the 21 to 45 finishers at Q School get in line behind the 101 to 125 players on the 2012 money list. That will put the player who finished 21st at Q School at about #158 or so on the list at the start of the 2013 season... maybe good for a few starts