Monday, November 06, 2006

ADT Championship Qualifiers

17 of the 32 competitors have already been determined for the ADT Championship, which will be held November 16-19. That would mean that 15 spots are up for grabs and this week’s Mitchell Tournament Of Champions will be the last opportunity for players to make the ADT and have a chance at the $1 million first prize. Let’s look at who will/may/may not make it, shall we?

Brittany Lang earned an automatic bid by accumulating the most points in the three Asian events, so the 17 players in are:
Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr,
Se Ri Pak, Sherri Steinhauer, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang,
Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Hee-Won Han, Pat Hurst,
Juli Inkster, Jeong Jang, Mi Hyun Kim, Seon Hwa Lee, Meena Lee

The next 13 positions are filled by the players with the most second-half ADT points. At this moment those players are (points in parentheses):
1. Stacy Prammanasudh (125)
2. Morgan Pressel (122)
3T Julieta Granada (108)
3T Jee Young Lee (108)
5. Il Mi Chung (98)
6. Sophie Gustafson (87)
7. Sun Young Yoo (72)
8. Maria Hjorth (71)
9. Diana D’Alessio (66)
10. Lorie Kane (64)
11T Candie Kung (60)
11T Angela Stanford (60)
11T Wendy Ward (60)

The last two positions go to the two players not already qualified who ranked the highest on the 2006 money list prior to the three Asian events (October 16). Those two players are Ai Miyazato and Shi Hyun Ahn – I’ll explain why that won’t change in a few moments.

The point totals listed above can be found on the LPGA website. What you CAN’T find anywhere is how many points each player gets for each position they finish! So after researching the performance charts of about 20 players, I was able to (sort-of) construct the points table:
1 50
2 44
3 38
4 34
5 32
6 30
7 28
8 26
9 24
10 22
11 20

12 18
13 16
14 14
15 12
16 10
17 8
18 6
19 4
20 2
I say “sort-of” because they list Stacy Prammanasudh with 125 points and Sophie Gustafson with 87. Impossible to get an odd-numbered total with this chart, but I can’t resolve their totals with other examples I see. The odd numbers don’t come from splitting points from ties – I see T16s all over the place and it’s obviously worth 10 points every time. So sue me – this is the best I can come up with!

The Mitchell TOC awards single points to the Top 20 finishers, despite the fact that it is not a full-field event. So some of the players currently holding the most precarious of the 13 spots won’t even be playing this week, among them Sun Young Yoo, Maria Hjorth, Diana D’Alessio, and Lorie Kane. They will have to watch from home as these players take their best shot at knocking them out – Kim Saiki (44 points), Karen Stupples (38), Christina Kim (28), Joo Mi Kim (28), Heather Young (20), Wendy Doolan (18), Dorothy Delasin (18), Marisa Baena (18), Liselotte Neumann (18) and Carin Koch (16). While only Saiki and maybe Stupples have a realistic chance to jump past the 60-66 point plateau and make the Top 13, all of these players would get there should they win this event. Something to keep in mind this weekend while you watch the action on TGC.

As for the two “wild-card” money list finishers – Ai Miyazato is not playing this week, so she will not make the Top 13 and will qualify as the top player left on the money list. Shi Hyun Ahn is playing, but even if she wins she will not make the Top 13 – she currently has 0 points. So she will qualify as the #2 player left on the money list as of October 16.

You’re probably thinking “Why do you spend so much energy on researching these players? None of them are championship contenders.” Au contrar! Thanks to the format, any player that makes the 32-player ADT field is a “contender” – they only have to play well enough to make it to Sunday, then get really hot and score better than seven other players that one day and they’ll be $1 million richer. For these lower echelon players, making that field is a pretty big deal. Besides, I enjoy rooting for somebody like Christina Kim to get a Top 5 finish in Mobile to squeak into the ADT field and then ride that hot hand to the million bucks!

LATE NOTE: The winner of this week's Mitchell TOC earns an automatic berth in the ADT. I missed this important fact because until just now, I hadn't stumbled onto the ONE page of the LPGA site that mentions this! They might get more people on board with this "playoff" shtick if they would lay it all out on one webpage. The only change this makes to what I wrote above is, if one of the players not already qualified wins this week, there will be only 12 slots available to the second-half point leaders instead of 13.

EVEN LATER NOTE: Shi Hyun Ahn is not a lock for the second wild card. If Angela Stanford makes the ADT field on points, then Miyazato and Ahn will be the wild cards. But if Stanford gets passed in points and fails to make the Top 12/13, she will make the field as the second wild card since she was ahead of Ahn on the money list at the cut-off date (post-Samsung).

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