In this week's Stats and Stuff, Ward Clayton talks about the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Who’s in a tournament name?
Having a tournament named for a current or former player is a longtime tradition on the LPGA Tour, with 15 players having tournaments named for them since the Betty Jameson Open debuted in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas. This week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational is the only tournament on the 2011 schedule named for a player. Ochoa played the first three years, with a best finish of T6 in 2009, but is not participating this year because she is expecting her first child. Ochoa, who retired from fulltime play in 2010, turns 30 next Wednesday (Nov. 15).
Winning the event as the host has been infrequent. Babe Zaharias won the first Babe Zaharias Open in 1953 at hometown Beaumont (Texas) Country Club. Mickey Wright won the Mickey Wright Invitational in the San Diego area three times at three different locations in the 1960s. Shirley Englehorn also won the 1967 Shirley Englehorn Invitational in Caldwell, Idaho.
Here’s a look at tournaments that have been named after LPGA Tour players:
|Betty Jameson||Betty Jameson Open||1952||San Antonio|
|Betsy Rawls||Betsy Rawls Open||1953-54, ’59||Spartanburg, S.C.|
|Babe Zaharias||Babe Zaharias Open/Babe Zaharias Invit.||1953-67, ‘76||Beaumont, Tx./Chagrin Fall, Oh|
|Mickey Wright||Mickey Wright Invitational||1961-69||San Diego|
|Mary Mills||Mary Mills Mississippi Gulf Coast Invitational||1963-64||Ocean Springs, Miss.|
|Clifford Ann Creed||Clifford Ann Creed Invitational||1964||Alexandria, La.|
|Louise Suggs||Louise Suggs Delray Beach Invitational||1966-67||Delray Beach, Fla.|
|Shirley Englehorn||Shirley Englehorn Invitational||1966-68||Caldwell, Idaho|
|Patty Berg||Patty Berg Classic||1969, 1975-80||Sutton, Mass.; St. Paul, Minn.|
|Pat Bradley||Planters Pat Bradley Invitational||1988-90||High Point, N.C.|
|Nancy Lopez||Chick-fil-a Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez/Florida's Natural Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez||2000-06||Stockbridge, Ga.|
|Amy Alcott||The Office Depot Hosted by Amy Alcott||2001-04||Los Angeles|
|Betsy King||Wachovia Classic Hosted by Betsy King||2003-04||Kutztown, Pa.|
|Annika Sorenstam||Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA||2007-08||Mt. Pleasant, S.C.|
|Lorena Ochoa||Lorena Ochoa Invitational||2008-11||Guadalajara, Mexico|
Wins in the 2000s
Yani Tseng has won seven times this season on the LPGA Tour as she returns to action this week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico. That ups her career win total to 12, which is sixth on the list of victories this century. Tseng has finished T8 and 29th in her two career starts at Guadalajara Country Club.
Here’s a look at the most wins on the LPGA in the 2000s:
|1. Annika Sorenstam||54|
|2. Lorena Ochoa||27|
|3. Karrie Webb||22|
|4. Se Ri Pak||17|
|5. Cristie Kerr||14|
|6. Yani Tseng||12|
|T7. Juli Inkster||9|
|T7. Paula Creamer||9|
|T9. Jiyai Shin||8*|
|T9. Suzann Pettersen||8|
*-Includes three victories before becoming a LPGA Tour member.
Record international winners’ pace
With two events remaining in the 2011 season, international players are on pace to win a record percentage of LPGA Tour events this year. There have been 18 international winners in 22 tournaments thus far (81.8 percent). The record is 81.4 percent in 2010 (22 international winners in 27 tournaments), closely followed by 81.3 percent (26 of 32) in 2002. This week’s limited 36-player field at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational currently includes 11 Americans.
A look at the international winners’ percentage since 2000:
*-Two events remaining in 2011.
Defending champion: I.K. Kim
I.K. Kim has won each of the previous three seasons on the LPGA Tour, including a dominating performance at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last year when she broke the tournament record by six strokes. Kim finished at 19-under par to defeat Suzann Pettersen by three strokes. She has yet to win this season, with best finishes of T3 at the Honda LPGA Thailand and Kia Classic to start the season.
Kim has proven to be a fast finisher. In her State Farm Classic victory in June 2009, she shot a final-round 64. Last year at Guadalajara Country Club, Kim posted a final-round 65 to rally past Suzann Pettersen. In Kim’s first LPGA Tour victory, at the Longs Drugs Challenge in October 2008, she shot a final-round 73 but held a one-stroke lead entering a windy final round.
Momoko Ueda’s victory at the Mizuno Classic last week in Japan made her the second Japanese player to win this season. Ai Miyazato won the Evian Masters during the summer. Miyazato is the winningest active Japanese player with seven titles, followed by Ueda with two (also 2007 Mizuno Classic).
Feng’s close calls
Shanshan Feng, possibly the People’s Republic of China’s best player, man or woman, and the only LPGA Tour member from that country, has come close twice to winning her first title. Last week, the 22-year-old Feng lost to Momoko Ueda on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff at the Mizuno Classic for her second career runner-up finish. In 2008, at age 19, Feng made an eagle in each round on the way to a second-place finish to Angela Stanford at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic.
Feng has earned more than $1.2 million in four years on the LPGA Tour. This season, she is ranked a career-best 30th on the money list with two events remaining.
Shin’s final start of 2011
Jiyai Shin, 23, made her final start of the 2011 season at last week’s Mizuno Classic, posting a final-round 66 to move to a T9. Shin had won multiple tournaments each of the last three seasons on the LPGA Tour, but has failed to win this season. She changed her training regimen, coach and caddie at the beginning of the season. At midseason, she suffered a lower back injury that caused her to miss September’s tournaments. Her 2011 season is over as she returned home to South Korea for her late mother’s memorial service and to rehabilitate her back for the 2012 season.
Despite the lingering back ailment, Shin finished T7, T13, T29 and T9 during the just-completed Asian swing on the LPGA Tour. She earned $720,735 and had two second-place finishes on the LPGA Tour this season.