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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The LPGA's Last-Minute Scramble

The LPGA holds their Tour Championship next week so this is the last week for players to qualify... and only 72 players will make it. That doesn't really help anybody though; the field is pretty much set since this week's event, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, hosts only 35 of the top players plus one amateur. Only Juli Inkster (with a 3rd) and Alejanda Llaneza (with a win or 2nd) can still make the field.

Gaby Lopez and Lorena

However, there are a few important spots up for grabs this week.

The Top9 in next week's event all have a mathematical chance of winning the new Race to the CME Globe. LPGA.com is a bit confused over how many players still have a chance of making that group -- this post says it's 13 while this post says it's 14. However, both posts agree that Azahara Munoz, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, and Suzann Pettersen are outside looking in.

The Top3 can take it all next week if they just win the Tour Championship. (Just like the Top5 at the PGA Tour's Tour Championship.) Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park are locks; Lydia Ko is currently in 3rd but Michelle Wie can take over that spot with a win this week and Lydia finishing 5th or worse.

In addition, two of the big awards have yet to be settled:
  • The Vare Trophy (for scoring) is down to a battle between Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, and Michelle Wie.
  • The Rolex Player of the Year will go to either Stacy Lewis or Inbee Park. Inbee needs a Top5 finish in at least one of these two last tournaments in order to have a chance.
So although this is a relatively small tournament, the implications are huge. You can read Tony Jesselli's preview of the event here.  And the Lorena Ochoa Invitational is scheduled for broadcast on GC at 5pm ET each day Thursday thru Sunday.

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