Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Top 30 – June 2008

Only three events have been played since my last rankings post but after the completion of a major championship plus the upcoming week off, it seemed to be a natural time to update them. Quite a few changes have occurred in that interval as only five players remain in their same positions. 2008 results now count for 75% - next month, the ranking will be based solely on this year’s stats.

#1 Lorena Ochoa (1)
No Senorita Slam but by finishing third at the LPGA Championship, Lorena reached the 90% plateau in Top 10 Percentage and her current score for 2008 in my system is a perfect 100. She’s maxed out the Victory points category already, leads the money list, has a scoring average below 69.5 (68.63 to be exact) and hasn’t missed a cut. Maintaining that level of Top 10% is the hardest part of the equation but I wouldn’t bet that Ochoa can’t do it.

#2 Annika Sorenstam (3)
Now clearly ahead of Creamer on all fronts. I thought Annika was having a post-retirement-announcement letdown (T11 at Sybase and T32 at the Ginn Tribute) but the T3 this past weekend squashes that notion.

#3 Paula Creamer (2)
T15 at Corning and T32 at Ginn before finishing T10 with a good Sunday at Bulle Rock. The topic of Creamer being the best player without a major title is starting to get a workout, and the question most often hinted at is whether her game is conducive to winning one. My response? If Morgan Pressel and Sherri Steinhauer can win majors, Paula certainly can.

#4 Suzann Pettersen (4)
Her T34 at the LPGA Championship was her worst finish so far this season. I was positive Suzann was a Top 10 lock this week. I’ve just about given up trying to figure out what to focus on when predicting tournaments. When I give more weight to recent performance, the leaderboard seems to get populated by players who have played the course well before. When I use my Top 30 list as the selection basis, recent performance seems to outweigh it. And when I use results from the last year or two at a course…you get the picture. What’s really baffling is, Suzann rated great in all three of those things and all I got was a lousy T34.

#5 Yani Tseng (12)
Yani was going to rate either seventh or eighth even before winning the LPGA Championship. She now has four Top 10s and eight total Top 20s in 11 starts. I was absolutely wrong about this rookie class in
my preseason predictions. The 2006 class’ position as the greatest of all-time is now in serious danger.

#6 Seon Hwa Lee (9)
Remember when
I said the Stone Buddah would win when you least expect it? I guess I get lucky with stuff like that every once in a while. Followed up the Ginn Tribute victory with a T10 at Bulle Rock.

#7 Jeong Jang (5)
Still playing great – second at Corning, T32 at Ginn, T18 at the LPGA. JJ got passed this month only because she hasn’t won yet.

#8 Karrie Webb (15)
Should have won the Ginn Tribute by at least two shots, but her putter failed miserably. I might have her ranked too high but nobody below her can beat the three Top 5s Karrie has racked up this year.

#9 Jee Young Lee (7)
Someday Jelly will win an event not held in Korea and six months later, people will be wondering how she went so long without winning multiple times. I am already wondering that.

#10 Maria Hjorth (14)
There’s no denying Mimi’s talent but she swiped the Pat Hurst Jekyll/Hyde title before Karrie Webb ever got the chance to claim it. Check out this progression since the end of March – T6, 4, MC, T36, T53, T9, MC, 2. That rollercoaster would make me spew.

#11 Na Yeon Choi (16)
Currently on a streak of four straight Top 20s with a T2 at Sybase and T6 at the Ginn Tribute. Her T32 at the season-opening SBS Open is still her worst finish of year.

#12 Song-Hee Kim (27)
How could anyone have predicted that Kim would miss the cut at the LPGA Championship rather than finish in the Top 10 (or even better)? I’m going mad – mad, I tell ya. Song-Hee had rolled off six straight Top 20s before that, three of them Top 5s.

#13 Karen Stupples (13)
Her rise in the rankings reaches a plateau this month thanks to a T11 at Ginn and T58 at Bulle Rock. Just a momentary lull, I expect.

#14 Cristie Kerr (10)
Cristie falls four spots but is actually playing a little better recently, grabbing her third Top 10 of 2008 this past weekend to give her three straight Top 20s.

#15 Christina Kim (8)
Takes a tumble after T25 at Ginn and missing the LPGA cut.

#16 Mi Hyun Kim (19)
Now that the knee brace is off and Peanut has collected two Top 10s in her last three starts, look out.

#17 Stacy Prammanasudh (11)
T42, T25 and T46 in her last three events.

#18 Angela Stanford (6)
Angela’s visit to the Top 10 was short-lived. She tied for 25th this week after missing two straight cuts (now has three MCs this year).

#19 Sophie Gustafson (22)
Should have won the Ginn Tribute but a Sunday 79 dropped her into a tie for fourth (her third straight Top 10). That collapse carried over to the LPGA Championship as she missed the cut.

#20 Hee-Won Han (18)
T8 at Corning but MC at Ginn and T40 at the LPGA Championship.

#21 Ji-Yai Shin (20)
Shin has won three times in Korea and once in Japan this year. We will see her in two weeks at the U.S. Open.

#22 Laura Diaz (25)
Laura was about to fall out of the rankings but the fifth-place finish this weekend gives her a bump.

#23 Lindsey Wright (23)
T49 and T18 since May’s rankings.

#24 Morgan Pressel (17)
Definitely breaking out of her doldrums – T2 at Sybase, T25 at Ginn, T6 at Bulle Rock – but those four missed cuts on the season are a big hole to climb out of and last year’s numbers don’t mean as much as they used to.

#25 Juli Inkster (21)
T14 at Ginn, the only LPGA event she’s played in the last four weeks.

#26 Inbee Park (29)
MC at Corning, T6 at Ginn, T46 at the LPGA Championship.

#27 Brittany Lang (26)
T67 at Ginn, T18 this past weekend after being tied for the lead early in Round Three.

#28 Sun Young Yoo (NR)
Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen or heard of this third-year player before. Even I haven’t mentioned her more than a handful of times but here she is. Yoo has missed a couple of cuts in 2008 but has three Top 10s (T3 at Corning) and six total Top 20s. Currently 23rd on the money list.

#29 Jane Park (NR)
I know you’ve heard of Jane Park before. She makes her first HD Top 30 appearance on the strength of three Top 5 finishes this year (T2 at SBS, T3 at MasterCard, T4 at Ginn Tribute). If not for those four missed cuts, Jane would have gotten here a month or two ago.

#30 Se Ri Pak (30)
Still hanging around. T9 at the Ginn Tribute gave us hope for the LPGA Championship but T46 was all she could deliver.

Dropped Out: Angela Park (24), Momoko Ueda (28)
Bubbling Under: Candie Kung, Nicole Castrale


The Constructivist said...

Heh, haqve to raise my hand on Sun Young Yoo, given I've been ranking her class for closing on a year now. She and Teresa Lu have made big-time quantum leaps this season.

Here's where they stood in their class at the end of May:


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