Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Will the LPGA's Class of 2014 Be Its Smallest Ever?

So far, we know that Lydia Ko and Guilia Molinaro will be members of the LPGA's next rookie class, the Class of 2014.  Every other player who got a 2014 card via the Symetra Tour this year is a member of an earlier rookie class.  If that pattern holds true this week in Stage III of LPGA Q-School, then the Class of 2014 could be the tour's smallest rookie class ever.

Just think who LET and ALPG stars like Lee-Anne Pace, Joanna Klatten, Line Vedel, Marta Silva, Kristie Smith, and Rebecca Artis--as well as hopefuls like Amy Anderson (medalist in Stage II), Yueer Cindy Feng, Lindy Duncan, Cheyenne Woods, Natalie Sheary, Jaye Marie Green, Brittany Altomare, Xiyu Lin, Carlie Yadloczky, Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, Kelly Shon, and Ginger Howard--will have to beat.

  • LPGA winners:  Lorie Kane, Seon Hwa Lee, Birdie Kim, Meaghan Francella, Louise Friberg, Eunjung Yi
  • Top Prospects from Earlier Classes:  Ashleigh Simon, Jennifer Song, Tiffany Joh, Junthima Gulyanamitta, Maria Hernandez
  • Hot Golfer from Earlier Class:  Jenny Suh (runner-up in Stage II)
  • Other Current and Former LPGA Members:  Shasta Averyhardt, Karlin Beck, Mallory Blackwelder, Julia Boland, Frances Bondad, Cathryn Bristow, Ashli Bunch, Silvia Cavalleri, Esther Choe, Brianna Do, Lauren Doughtie, Paz Echeverria, Kathleen Ekey, Victoria Elizabeth, Veronica Felibert, Lisa Ferrero, Jordan Hardy, Katy Harris, Nannette Hill, Jamie Hullett, Daniella Iacobelli, Kelly Jacques, Nicole Jeray, Sarah-Maude Juneau, Taylore Karle, Mitsuki Katahira, Min Seo Kwak, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Jennie Lee, Jiayun Li, Inhong Lim, Tzu-Chi Lin, Alejandra Llaneza, Stephanie Na, Harukyo Nomura, Garrett Phillips, Jane Rah, Reilley Rankin, Jean Reynolds, Jessica Shepley, Sophia Sheridan, Nicole Smith, Victoria Tanco, Kim Welch, Hannah Yun
Now, it's true that none of these golfers would have to be competing in Q-School if they had played better in 2013 on the LPGA or Symetra Tour.  And it's true that they're under as much if not more pressure to return to the LPGA (especially the '13ers Tony Jesselli just rated) than the Class of '14 hopefuls are to join the tour for the 1st time.  But experience matters.  And the sheer number of current or former LPGA members in the field stack the odds against all but the top prospects for the Class of '14.  Let's see who can pass the 90-hole test!

Here are tomorrow's pairings!

[Update 1 (7:45 pm):  And here's Tony Jesselli's preview!]

[Update 2 (10:20 am):  Very interesting speculations from Ruthless Mike on why it's getting so tough to break into the LPGA these days.]

[Update 3 (12/8/13, 4:42 pm):  Wow, the '14ers were much tougher than I expected in Stage III of Q-School!  29 of 'em got some kind of LPGA status, while no other rookie class placed more than 7.]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I pray your day is blessed this day Shasta. Mama loves you!