Monday, May 19, 2008

Top 30 – May 2008

Four weeks have gone by and there are changes aplenty in the HD rankings. Only two players are in the same position they were last month and four players are making their first ever appearance. Stats for 2008 now count for 60% of the player’s overall ranking. Here we go:

#1 Lorena Ochoa (1)
Man, four weeks between victories – what is wrong with this girl? Seriously, if that T5 at Semgroup and T12 at Michelob are actually considered poor weeks, that speaks volumes for our opinion on Lorena’s level of performance.

#2 Paula Creamer (3)
I’m sure 95% of you believe that Annika Sorenstam is the clear-cut #2 player right now. If I were only going by 2008 results, I would agree that Annika is #2 but not by a tremendous margin. Paula Creamer has won twice this year (both times with Annika in the field) with a playoff loss (to Sorenstam) and a third-place finish at HSBC. Factor in Paula’s much larger advantage in 2007 numbers and Creamer comes in slightly ahead.

#3 Annika Sorenstam (4)
See #2. Her impending retirement injects a few more volts into an already electric POY race.

#4 Suzann Pettersen (2)
Forgetting for a moment that she hasn’t won yet and has only two Top 10 finishes, Pettersen is playing rather well in 2008. Her worst finish is T30 and she’s been in the Top 20 six times in the eight events she’s played. Compared to Numbers 1-3, she’s playing poorly but then so is everyone else (and Suzann is still getting 40% of a five-win season factored into her rating).

#5 Jeong Jang (5)
Her ailing wrist worries me, but JJ sure has been playing great. She missed the cut at the Stanford Pro-Am but followed that up with a T3 and a T2.

#6 Angela Stanford (11)
A player who hasn’t won since 2003 is ranked sixth? Stanford has one missed cut this year but the rest of her numbers are great – eighth on the money list, 71.2 scoring average, three Top 10s. Couple that with her similar numbers from last year and a lot of players would trade places with Angela.

#7 Jee Young Lee (8)
Top 10s at SemGroup and Michelob have Jelly on the upswing again.

#8 Christina Kim (16)
Coming off back-to-back Top 10s at Michelob and Sybase. Christina is having the best season of her career and could be the most likely candidate to win outside the Top Three.

#9 Seon Hwa Lee (6)
Tied for sixth at Stanford but has stumbled since – T29, MC, T42. That’s two missed cuts in 2008 for a player who only had one in her first two seasons.

#10 Cristie Kerr (12)
Only two Top 10s and two other Top 20s in ten starts. Her T6 at Stanford is the primary reason for this bump back into the Top 10.

#11 Stacy Prammanasudh (10)
Recovered from the flu in a strong way, finishing T9 at Michelob. Two other 40-something finishes puts her in a bit of a holding pattern for the moment.

#12 Yani Tseng (22)
Still second in rookie points but the #1 rookie in my system, mainly because she’s fourth on the money list and scoring a little better than Choi. Only the Big Three have better 2008 numbers than Yani.

#13 Karen Stupples (25)
Tied for second at Michelob, her third Top 10 of the year. My leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, to this point.

#14 Maria Hjorth (13)
Started that slide I predicted for her during the pre-season (MC, T36, T53) before posting T9 at the Michelob Ultra. It’s been up-and-down so far for Maria, but you can’t ignore those three Top 10 finishes she has.

#15 Karrie Webb (17)
Now owns the Jekyll/Hyde title that Pat Hurst had dominated for the last two years. T3 at Stanford, T38 at Michelob, T67 at Sybase. I need to do a study on what the Top 30 players score on Sunday relative to the rest of the week when they are in contention, versus when they are not in contention. I think I see a pattern in Webb’s results.

#16 Na Yeon Choi (NR)
The highest Top 30 debut in HD history – Woooo!!! Preceded her tie for second at Sybase with two T29 finishes. Right now five players have a really good shot at winning Rookie of the Year but Ueda, Friberg and Hee Young Park had better not let Tseng and Choi get too far ahead.

#17 Morgan Pressel (7)
A change in “swing thought” is what enabled Morgan to rebound from three straight missed cuts and finish tied for second at Sybase. If trying to take a little more divot with each swing was all it took, I could break 70 myself.

#18 Hee-Won Han (15)
Stalled out a bit over the last month. Over the last four weeks she’s only completed two events, T14 at Stanford and T50 at Michelob. Was struggling mightily in the muck when she withdrew from Sybase Friday morning.

#19 Mi Hyun Kim (9)
Her knee forced her to WD early on Friday at Kingsmill (the morning rain delay caused it to stiffen) and she wasn’t entered at Sybase. Kimmie has only completed five events so far (counting one MC at Ginn) with that T6 at KNC the only positive result she’s gotten. I hate dropping her like this but my system doesn’t care about injuries.

#20 Ji-Yai Shin (18)
Hasn’t played stateside since my last ranking. We’ll see her at the U.S. Open in June, and at Evian and the British at the end of July.

#21 Juli Inkster (26)
The playoff loss at SemGroup was eerie, considering that she had also lost in a playoff there in 2007. That’s her only Top 10 so far in ’08 and she only has one other Top 20. Juli hasn’t missed any cuts so this bump in the rankings isn’t unwarranted.

#22 Sophie Gustafson (NR)
Returns to the Top 30 on the strength of back-to-back Top 10s – T7 at Michelob and T2 at Sybase. Sophie had only fallen into the mid-30s last month so this resurgence isn’t completely unexpected.

#23 Lindsey Wright (29)
Picked up her third Top 10 of the year at Stanford. Has finished in the Top 20 six times in nine starts.

#24 Angela Park (14)
Tied for sixth at Stanford to break her recent fall but promptly missed the next two cuts. Posted a so-so T38 at Sybase.

#25 Laura Diaz (23)
T14, T23 and T26 in her last three starts, which isn’t anything special. But it beats the heck out of those two missed cuts she had right before that.

#26 Brittany Lang (NR)
Had I been ranking 30 players at the end of 2006, this would not have been Brittany’s first appearance on my list. Three Top 10s in 2008 (T5 at SemGroup and T2 at Sybase most recently) are the reason she’s finally made it.

#27 Song-Hee Kim (NR)
The 2006 Futures Tour champion makes her first appearance in the HD Top 30. After a slow start (two MCs in her first four events), Kim has rolled off four straight Top 20s including second at Corona and a tie for fifth at Ginn.

#28 Momoko Ueda (20)
Playing like a true rookie phenom the last four weeks. Fifth at Stanford, MCs at SemGroup and Michelob, T11 at Sybase.

#29 Inbee Park (NR)
Inbee makes her debut in the Top 30 on the strength of her three straight Top 10s earlier this year (Safeway, KNC, Corona). T16 at Michelob and T18 at Sybase solidify her new lofty position.

#30 Se Ri Pak (21)
Has not played an American event since Ginn (played in Japan two weeks ago and signed a new sponsor deal in Korea last week). Pak needs to dig up that old LPGA Championship magic if she wants to be in the Top 30 next time.

Dropped Out: Natalie Gulbis (19), Nicole Castrale (24), Laura Davies (27), Brittany Lincicome (28), Sherri Steinhauer (30)
Bubbling Under: Teresa Lu, Candie Kung.


The Constructivist said...

Nice job, as usual! Have you considered comparing Ai Miyazato and Moira Dunn over the past 2 seasons? Golfweek just ranked Moira over Ai-chan! You can imagine how torn I am over the disparity with the Rolex Rankings.... I need a third opinion!

lpgafan said...

Good list. I'm glad to see Angela Stanford rank high. In my opinion she is the most underrated player on tour these last few years. She top tens nearly every week. Good to see your list give her credit she deserves!

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