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GOLF NEWS: THE BATTLE FOR No. 1; THE RACE FOR R.O.Y & MORE

GOLF NEWS: THE BATTLE FOR No. 1; THE RACE FOR R.O.Y & MORE

Who’s No. 1?  Rolex Rankings, other races heat up with seven events ahead on the 2010 LPGA schedule

2010-10-06

courtesy of lpga

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 5, 2010 – Golf’s global tour embarks on an exciting season-ending stretch that will feature seven LPGA Tour tournaments in five countries, with a similarly international melting pot of players vying to see their name finish atop an official LPGA list.

“Only one question remains to be answered in professional golf: Who is the No. 1 female golfer on the planet?” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “Golf’s global tour will provide the answer over the next two months. It’s an exciting time to be an LPGA fan, partner, tournament director, media member and player.”

The race to be Rolex Rankings No. 1 ignited in May following the retirement of Lorena Ochoa and has sizzled with three players from three different countries – American Cristie Kerr, Japan’s Ai Miyazato and South Korean Jiyai Shin – taking turns as the top player in the world.  Two more players – Taiwan’s Yani Tseng and Norwegian Suzann Pettersen – have challenged for the No. 1 spot on a weekly basis and remain in the mix to hold the top spot at season’s end.

Only 0.67 average points separates the current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Miyazato from No. 5 Pettersen. No. 6 Na Yeon Choi sits more than a full point behind Pettersen while No. 7 Michelle Wie is 0.77 behind Choi.  The remaining seven events on the 2010 schedule will determine which players—if any—can make the necessary jump to topple Miyazato from the top,

Rolex Rankings, Oct. 4, 2010

Rank    Player                          Country            Avg Points

1          Ai Miyazato                   JPN                   10.91

2          Jiyai Shin                      KOR                  10.80

3          Cristie Kerr                    USA                  10.69

4          Yani Tseng                    TPE                  10.28

5          Suzann Pettersen          NOR                  10.24

6          Na Yeon Choi                KOR                   9.23

7          Michelle Wie                 USA                    8.46

8          In Kyung Kim                 KOR                   7.46

9          Song-Hee Kim               KOR                   7.32

10        Paula Creamer               USA                   7.11

In addition to the battle for the top spot in the Rolex Rankings, the top-5 players in the world also locked in races for the Rolex Player of the Year, LPGA Official Money List and Vare Trophy for low scoring average.

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Munoz holds healthy lead in Rookie of the Year race

As opposed to the other LPGA categories, Spain’s Azahara Munoz maintains a large lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. Munoz finished tied for 23rd at the P&G NW Arkansas Championship Presented by Walmart to extend her lead to 315 points over her closest competitor, Amanda Blumenherst, who will be featured in this week’s Golf Channel broadcast. Munoz has posted two top-10 finishes and six other top-20’s in her rookie campaign. Blumenherst held the lead in the rookie race earlier in the year after posting two top-10’s in her first six starts.

Gwlady's Nocera (photo courtesy of lpga.com)

France’s Gwladys Nocera, a 10-time winner on the LET, is currently third with one top-10. Nocera is followed by Spaniards Maria Hernandez and Beatriz Recari. Hernandez may be the rookie with the most recent momentum, having posted two top 20’s in her last four LPGA Tour starts, and a win this year on the LET. While Munoz seems to have this race in hand, superior play by one of her chasers could make this competition tight come the LPGA Tour Championship in December.

Player                          Points  Events

Azahara Munoz              562       14

Amanda Blumenherst      247      16

Gwladys Nocera             201       15

Maria Hernandez            139       14

Beatriz Recari                108       13

New Rolex Player of the Year to be crowned

Yani Tseng

Yani Tseng holds a narrow two-point lead over Ai Miyazato in the race to become the new Rolex Player of the Year.  On the strength of major championship victories at the Kraft Nabisco and the RICOH Women’s British Open, Tseng is in contention for her first-ever Player of the Year honors.  Tseng, who won the 2008 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, is by no means safe at the top with a host of players on her heels.

Player                          Points

Yani Tseng                    176

Ai Miyazato                   174

Cristie Kerr                    148

Jiyai Shin                      128

Na Yeon Choi                125

Suzann Pettersen          115

Song-Hee Kim                93

In-Kyung Kim                 83

Paula Creamer               64

Michelle Wie                  62

Pettersen leads tight Vare Trophy race

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen holds a slim 0.03 stroke lead over Na Yeon Choi in the race for the 2010 Vare Trophy for low scoring average.  Nine players currently boast scoring averages under 71, including the top-7 on the Rolex Rankings.  Pettersen, who carded 66-64 in the first rounds of the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand, has at least one round in the 60’s in 13 of 15 tournaments played this season.

Player                          Scoring Average

Suzann Pettersen          70.0000

Na Yeon Choi                70.0345

Cristie Kerr                    70.0962

Song-Hee Kim               70.1333

Jiyai Shin                      70.2041

Yani Tseng                    70.4400

Ai Miyazato                   70.4615

In-Kyung Kim                 70.5714

Inbee Park                     70.8571

Morgan Pressel              71.0847

Shin looks for back-to-back money list titles

South Korean Jiyai Shin holds a narrow advantage in her hunt for back-to-back money titles on the LPGA.  The 2009 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year became the first South Korean to top the LPGA Official Money List last year with a $1,807,334. To date this year, she is one of six players to cross the $1 million mark in season earnings and currently holds a $36,868 advantage over Yani Tseng with seven events remaining.  The top-9 players on the current 2010 LPGA Official Money List are all in the top-9 on the Rolex Rankings.

Player                          2010 money

Jiyai Shin                      $1,463,833

Yani Tseng                    $1,427,065

Ai Miyazato                   $1,377,600

Na Yeon Choi                $1,372,372

Suzann Pettersen          $1,319,400

Cristie Kerr                    $1,261,997

Song-Hee Kim                $992,687

Michelle Wie                  $848,486

In-Kyung Kim                 $840,608

Inbee Park                     $740,180

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