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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rookies on the Rise

First of all, Happy 4th of July! I'm leaving today for a week-long vacation with friends... but we're driving. We'll be on the road today and tomorrow, and I don't know if we've got an internet connection tonight, so you may not see the Limerick Summary until Tuesday.

However, golf will go on as planned, and while we're seeing some good play out of the regulars -- the leaders Na Yeon Choi, Christina Kim, Katherine Hull, and Kristy McPherson being the prime examples -- it seems to me that this week is the LPGA rookies' week to shine.

Here, from yesterday's post, are the top point-getters in the 2010 Rookie of the Year race so far. I've added their Priority List category in bold after their point totals:
  1. Azahara Munoz, 309, 8
  2. Amanda Blumenherst, 237, 8
  3. Gwaldys Nocera, 119, 8
  4. Mariajo Uribe, 63, 11
  5. Beatriz Recari, 58, 11
  6. Marianne Skarpnord, 28, 11
  7. Pernilla Lindberg, 27, 11
  8. Misun Cho, 26, 9
  9. Yoo Kyeong Kim, 25, 11
  10. Mina Harigae, 20, 9
Kim and Uribe both missed the cut, leaving the others with a chance to drop them in the dust. Munoz (my pick for Rookie of the Year) is now T6 at -9 (up from T19 after her -5 round); only a bad day today can stop her from stretching her lead, as Blumenherst is still all the way back at T46 (-2), up from T57 after a -1 round. Here's a quick look at where the other rookies are after Saturday's round:
  • Gwaldys Nocera, T75 (+2) down from T67 Friday
  • Beatriz Recari, T23 (-5) down from T5
  • Marianne Skarpnord, T61 (-1) down from T32
  • Pernilla Lindberg, T23 (-5) down from T11
  • Misun Cho, T29 (-4) up from T32
  • Mina Harigae, T75 (+2) down from T43
This shows how competitive it is this week. Recari only lost one stroke (from -6 to -5) yet dropped 18 spots, and Skarpnord lost only 2 strokes (-3 to -1) yet fell 29 spots. Lindberg dropped 12 spots with an even par round! By comparison, the farther back you were, the less difference it made -- Cho gained one stroke, but only moved up 4 spots, while Harigae's +4 round didn't hurt her much more than Skarpnord's +2.

If things hold, Munoz will go into the Open next week with a chance to blow the ROY race wide open. Currently, Blumenherst will get only a few (if any) points, with Recari, Lindberg, and Cho possibly leapfrogging a few names. After this week, there are only 13 LPGA tournaments (2 majors) left and if any of those are limited-field events (I don't know the answer to that question right now), at least half of these struggling rookies may be unable to play, pushing them even further down the list. They need to play well now. Perhaps the Constructivist or HoundDog will shed some light on this in the comments section, as they understand the Priority List much better than I do.

It may not be a big week for the rank-and-file of the LPGA, but the rookies may feel otherwise.

2 comments:

  1. Uribe just got a big break, having just been added to the Evian Masters field as a wild card. If that's a sponsor exemption, though, any money she wins won't be official on the LPGA (I don't know about ROY points)....

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  2. Oh, and to get into the LPGA's Asian swing at the end of the season, you need to be in the top 50 on the money list (or hope some in the top 50 choose not to go), so, yeah, all the rooks had better get a move on!

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