What I would like to look at now are the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments of the 2012 season so far. I will be doing this three times this year: now, again in July, and a final time at the end of the season.
1- So Yeon Ryu - We all expected her to be good in her rookie year, but few expected her to be this good. She has finished in the top 4 four times. She has yet to miss a cut this year. She is quickly on the road to becoming an elite player.
2- Caroline Hedwall - Caroline has teed it up seven times this year,and finished in the top 20 six times. Only Yani Tseng has more top 20 finishes (7). She has yet to miss a cut in her young career, making all 13 cuts. A star in the making.
3- Karin Sjodin - This is Karin's 7th year on tour and she has never really done anything to get excited about. Her two top tens, and three top-twenty finishes, have opened people's eyes. Whether she will maintain this pace, or this is just a hot streak, is hard to answer now. Let's wait and see if she makes this next list in July.
4- Jenny Shin - She has cooled a bit of late, but we must not forget she had three top-ten finishes in her first three starts. I think this girl has a very bright future.
5- Mariajo Uribe - A priority ranking of #134 has limited her starts to just three this year. She has made the most of those starts, with finishes of seventh and twentieth place. A reshuffle of the priority list will be done this week and Mariajo will improve her position, leading to more starts.
6- Sun Young Yoo - The reason I don't have her rated higher on my list is that my expectations for her are very high to begin with. Three top tens, and five top twenties this early in the season, have her in the race for player of the year.
Honorable Mentions - Natalie Gulbis and Jodi Ewart
1- Song-Hee Kim - Song-Hee was number one on my list last year. I lowered my expectations this year, but she is still the biggest disappointment. She has made only one cut the entire year, and her best finish is a tie for 52nd place. Her scoring average in 2010 was 70.21; it fell to 72.62 last year and now has fallen to a very unprofessional 75.82 this year.
2- Christina Kim - Christina hasn't been just disappointing this year, she has been just plain awful. In eight starts, she has 5 missed cuts. Her best finish this year is 57th, and she sports a 75.18 scoring average. She was also terrible the second half of 2011, leaving me to wonder if she will ever regain her past form.
3- Michelle Wie - 2012 was supposed to be Michelle's breakout year. With her graduation from college, she is now able to focus completely on golf. Her best finish this year is a tie for 38th, and her putting has been nothing short of disastrous. At 22 years old, you have to believe she will figure it out. In the mean time she is no longer considered an elite golfer.
4- Tiffany Joh - Her successful rookie season led us to expect some good golf from Tiffany this year. That hasn't been the case. In eight tournaments her best finish is a tie for 44th. Were my expectations too high? Hopefully not. There is still plenty of time for her to turn this season around.
5- Mika Miyazato - Didn't expect her to be on this list, but yet here she is. Has not been in contention this year, with her best finish a tie for 21st. She has missed her last three cuts.
6- Maria Hjorth - Like Mika, she has not contended this year either. Her best finish is a tie for 25th. She defended her Mobile Bay title last week by finishing 76th.
Dishonorable Mentions - Grace Park, Ryann O'Toole, Paula Creamer, and Morgan Pressel.
Grace Park has missed the cut in all five tournaments she has played in this season.
Sandra Gal's streak of making 14 consecutive cuts came to an end when she missed the cut at the Mobile Bay Classic.
Categories 15 through 22 on the LPGA priority list will be reshuffled this week; this will mean more starts for players in those categories who have played well this year.
Lexi Thompson, Karrie Webb, and Karine Icher are the latest to qualify. Suzann Pettersen remains the highest-ranked player yet to get in.
Rolex Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis moves from #9 to #6, Lexi Thompson moves from #38 to #24, and Natalie Gulbis continues her surge forward with a jump from #90 to #81.
Sybase Championship Update:
The following 2 players qualified by having the lowest scores after the second round of the Mobile Bay Championship, among the ladies not already in the event:
1- Lindsey Wright
2- So Yeon Ryu
The following players have qualified by being the top 12 ladies on this year's money list who weren't already in the event:
1- Jenny Shin - $193,601
2- Jessica Korda - $174,688
3- Caroline Hedwall - $167,026
4- *Lexi Thompson - $159,059
5- Julieta Granada - $141,627
6- Karin Sjodin - $134,547
7- Eun-Hee Ji - $104,172
8- Natalie Gulbis - $102,880
9- Karine Icher - $95,743
10- Haeji Kang - $95,546
11- Mina Harigae - $90,446
12- Jodi Ewart - $ 82,065
5/1/12 - Update - Se Ri Pak and Juli Inkster are unable to play because of injury. Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, Momoko Ueda, and Paige Mackenzie all qualified but are not playing. Players that have gotten in because of the above are: Amanda Blumenherst, Katherine Hull, Pornanong Phatlum, Jennifer Song, and Mariajo Uribe.
Grace Park and Belen Mozo were sponsor exemptions.
* Lexi Thompson will not be attending the event as she has her school prom.
If they replace her with the next highest person on the money list, that would be Amanda Blumenherst.