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Friday, September 16, 2011

This Time a Rookie Leads the Pack

Last week Taylor Leon made news by getting near the lead of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. (And for those of you keeping a Taylor Leon watch, she's at +1 -- T47 -- after the first round. That sounds good until you realize that +2 is T70. Taylor is right at the cut line. Get a move on, girl!) This week another new name is on the board... and this one's a rookie. Since you probably haven't heard much about her, I thought I'd give you the skinny on this week's headliner.

Jennifer Johnson LPGA photoJennifer Johnson is a member of the 2011 rookie class. She went to Arizona State University but she's only 20 years old, so you know she didn't go for long. ;-) However, her bio at the ASU site is fairly complete, and it paints a picture of a pretty well-rounded player.
  • She was named to Golf World's Mid-Season All-Freshman Team in 2009-2010.
  • She was runner-up at both the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur and the 2010 NCAA Championship.
  • She played on the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup Team, the 2009 Junior Solheim Cup Team, and the 2010 Curtis Cup Team. In fact, she was 3-0-1 at the Curtis Cup and scored the winning point.
Although she's just a rookie and hasn't gotten much TV exposure -- let's face it, most rookie years aren't much to write home about -- it's still possible you've heard of Jennifer because she's been featured in Navistar's Wounded Warriors Project campaign.

As things stand, Jennifer is #9 on the Rolex Rookie of the Year list with 110 points. She's made just 6 out of 9 cuts this year, including 2 of the 3 majors she played in, and her best finish is a T12 at the CN Canadian Women's Open. Her 3 missed cuts came in the last 4 events -- the CN being her one made cut during that time -- and then she had the great showing Thursday. In fact, the LPGA lists her career low score as 67. They'll have to change that since her 65 yesterday is a new record!

She may not have her 2012 Tour card locked up yet, but Jennifer currently sits at #70 on the money list with $84,809 -- nearly $25,000 above that key #80 position. With the limited number of tournaments remaining this year, I think she's in pretty good shape.

But Jennifer will probably have her hands full this week. With Lexi Thompson only 1 stroke back and Yani Tseng just 3 behind her, she'll need that Women's Am and Curtis Cup experience!

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