Sunday, February 17, 2008

SBS Open – Epilogue

Annika Sorenstam went 17 months between LPGA victories, the longest such gap of her career. Her winless streak had reached 18 tournaments, the longest since she went 34 events before collecting her first ever victory in 1995. Since her first win, Annika's longest winless streak had been 17 (four events at the end of 1998 and the first 13 of 1999).

Angela Park was very upset by the slow play penalty she received at #10 and after the round was calling it unfair. Reportedly, she was timed as being too slow on three consecutive shots after being put on the clock so it sounds to me like the officials gave her a lot of leeway before assessing the two-shot penalty. The two strokes cost Park about $60,000 – the difference between a tie for fifth and solo second.

The Constructivist wrote
a great piece summing up what we discovered this first LPGA weekend. The points I especially agree with: Annika is back, and there are at least three dozen players on Tour who are capable of winning. With only 33 events to go around and the likelihood that Ochoa and a couple of others will win more than once, that second point is rather hard to prove. But I believe that Saturday’s mad scramble of players within two of the lead will be the norm this season rather than the exception.

Russy Gulyanamitta (I just spelled that correctly without looking it up first! I am a true LPGA freak!) is not a rookie. She was in 2004 when she played 15 events. In 17 career tournaments before the SBS Open, Russy had only made two cuts and earned $4411. THAT would have been a Fluke Victory! She is fully exempt so she’ll be here all year. Oh yeah, she’s 31 years old and didn’t even start playing seriously until after she graduated college. She wins the first Big Surprise award of 2008, hands down.

Kelli Kuehne shot 66 yesterday, meaning she played Rounds One and Three in -11. Her overall -4 put her at T12. Hopefully Friday’s 79 was just a case of nerves and the other two unspotlighted rounds are the real indicator of how her 2008 will play out.

Ji-Yai Shin really got lost in the shuffle yesterday – other than Michelle Wie, when was the last time you saw a sponsor’s exemption finish as high as seventh? File this away – even if she doesn’t gain exempt status by winning an LPGA event this year, Shin will get exempt by earning enough money to make Top 90. She already has over $30,000.

Remember our
Rookie of the Year discussions a few weeks ago? Momoko Ueda (my pick) finishes T5, Yani Tseng (my #2 and first-choice of others) finishes T8. Since when did mere bloggers get so wise?

I almost forgot to award the Big Disappointment - Brittany Lincicome missed the cut by three shots but I'm more disappointed by Jee Young Lee, who finished T68 after barely making it to the final round. Sorry, Jelly.

6 comments:

The Constructivist said...

Thanks for the link, HD, as well as the support of my key points!

Quick q: so non-member winnings count toward top 40/90-style exemptions? Does that mean Wie was eligible to join the LPGA (if they would have waived the age requirement and she had wanted to) but no longer is?

Hound Dog said...

My statement has a little conjecture in it. Two years ago Wie could have asked to join, chose not to (they granted Pressel a waiver and would certainly have done the same here), and the official money list did NOT show her even though she would have been 15th. I believe that had she applied for membership and been accepted, her money earned in 2006 would have given Michelle two years of exempt status (bet she would like to have that right now).

IF I am correct in that belief, Shin is in a similar position - a non-member professional earning money after getting in on sponsor exemptions or her KLPGA qualifications for major events. If she earns enough, she should be exempt if she applies for membership.

Albert said...

Is there really such a rule? PGA has it, but I'm not so sure about LPGA. Has anyone ever used it to become a member?

sag said...

Yes, the LPGA does have such a rule. A non-member must finish in the top 90, but only domestic, full-field events count. A detailed breakdown concerning Miss Wie can be found here.

No one has yet gained membership under this rule, but I don't think anyone has actually tried. Shin appears to be well on her way, and after the Curtis Cup Stacy Lewis plans to turn pro and try to earn a card under this rule.

Hound Dog said...

Thanks for the clarification, Sag! I knew I read that somewhere about Wie and Lewis but forgot about the full-field limitation. If the US and British Opens as well as Evian are out, Shin will have to rely more on sponsor's exemptions to make it via the money list.

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