The Futures Tour concluded its 2007 season just over a week ago. The top five players on the Futures money list gained full-exempt status on the LPGA Tour for 2008. Are those actually the five best players? Here is my final Futures Tour Top 10 (the five who gained exemption are bolded with their previous rankings in parentheses):
1. Mollie Fankhauser (2)
2. Allison Fouch (1)
3. Emily Bastel (3)
4. Taylor Leon (NR)
5. Seo-Jae Lee (5)
6. Liz Janangelo (4)
7. Violeta Retamoza (8)
8. Brandi Jackson (6)
9. Janell Howland (10)
10. Ji Min Jeong (NR)
Taylor Leon won two of the last five tournaments, but finished ninth on the money list because she only played eight events. Liz Janangelo also won two events this year but fell just $3400 short of Violeta Retamoza’s total. Liz rates better than Violeta in every category except money, and she’s only two points short even there. That’s a tough break.
The top three players rate very closely. Fankhauser won only one tournament (Fouch and Bastel each won twice) but she led in scoring average and was the only player to play more than half of the 19 events without missing a cut. I think all three have a reasonable chance to play well in the Big Show, with Fankhauser having the best chance. Of course I predicted Top 20 status for Song-Hee Kim based on 2006 Futures Tour results and you see how that turned out. I guess by “reasonable chance to play well”, I mean they ought to be able to keep their cards for a year or two. I don’t see any of them setting the Tour on fire.
I only ranked the top 10 here, but the player at #11 in my stats was a surprise. Jane Park played only four events, finished Top 10 in two of them and nearly made the list. I’m rooting for her to get exempt at Q-School.
The players who finished sixth through fifteenth on the Futures money list and are not currently LPGA non-exempt players earn automatic entry into the Final Qualifying Tournament (Q-School) which starts November 29th. Those ten players are Liz Janangelo, Brandi Jackson, Vikki Laing, Taylor Leon, Ha Na Chae, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Janell Howland, Ji Min Jeong, Caroline Larsson and Eunjung Yi. The first sectional qualifying tournament starts on Wednesday in Rancho Mirage, California with the second qualifier beginning October 2 in Venice, Florida.