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Stats and Stuff: Asian Swing has bearing on Rolex Player of the Year

Stacy Lewis
Photo Credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Stacy Lewis of the United States of America plays her third shot on the 15th fairway during day one of the Evian Masters at the Evian Masters Golf Club on July 26, 2012 in Evian-les-Bains, France.

October 3 2012, Ward Clayton

Stacy Lewis enters the final six tournaments of the 2012 season with a decided edge in points for the Rolex Women’s Player of the Year honor, but the 27-year-old Texan will be playing four consecutive tournaments closest to the homes of her main competitors, all Asian players who have outstanding records playing in these events.

Holding a 56-point lead and a record of three top-10 finishes in nine starts and a worst finish of T45 in the four tournaments bodes well for Lewis. The Asian Swing of tournaments begins next week at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The most daunting statistic for Lewis is that among the four tournaments – the Sime Darby, LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in South Korea, Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship and Mizuno Classic in Japan – only one has been won by an American, and that was Betsy King at the Mizuno Classic in Japan in 1993.

Here is a look at the top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, who are all entered in the Malaysia event, and how they have fared in the four tournaments, with a best finish listed for each. Points are awarded for top-10 finishes, from 30 for first place down to one for 10th. So, for example, second-place Jiyai Shin would need to win twice and Lewis finish out of the top 10 both times to overtake Lewis in a two-tournament span.

Player, Points Malaysia HanaBank Taiwan Mizuno Total Top-10s
1 Stacy Lewis, 184 T5 T12 T29 3             3
2 Jiyai Shin, 128 T6 T4 T29 Win (2) 9
3 Yani Tseng, 120 2 Win  Win 2             7
4 Inbee Park, 114  7 T29 T5 4
5 Shanshan Feng, 112 T9 T13 NA 2             2
6 Ai Miyazato, 110 T28 NA NA T2           3
7 Mika Miyazato, 105 T3 T25 NA T5           2
8 Na Yeon Choi, 101 Win Win (2) T29 3             7
9 So Yeon Ryu, 98 NA T12 NA NA         0
10 Sun Young Yoo, 81  T12 T7 9 T17         3

 

Time change preparation

When Asian players travel to play in the United States they must adjust to a different time schedule nearly a day earlier. Now, it’s the American players’ turn for altering their schedules. For example, Stacy Lewis would need to take a flight from Dallas to Kuala Lumpur, which takes 21 hours going through Dubai, for next week’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Here are the time differences between Eastern Daylight  Time and the sites of the next four events:

Tournament City Difference
Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 12 hours ahead
LPGA KEB-HanaBank Seoul, South Korea 13 hours ahead
Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Tapei, Taiwan 12 hours ahead
Mizuno Classic Tokyo 13 hours ahead

The biggest quick turnaround will come following the Asian Swing when the next event, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, is scheduled the following week, Nov. 8-11 in Guadalajara, Mexico – 14 hours earlier than in Tokyo from the Mizuno Classic.

Playing all week long

Next week’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is a limited-field, 72-hole event (72 players) and doesn’t have a 36-hole cut. The top 62 players from the LPGA earned a spot in the field and there were 10 sponsor exemptions, including four from the local and regional qualifier on Sept. 4-5. Amanda Blumenherst and Michelle Wie are among the sponsor exemptions.

Rookie Lizette Salas played in the final threesome at the Navistar LPGA Classic two weeks ago and finished T16. Her $16,557 paycheck pushed her from 61st to 58th on the LPGA money list at $159,557 and safely into the field in Malaysia. The Sime Darby will be her second international LPGA start as she also played in the CN Canadian Women’s Open.

Etc.

The Golf Channel will televise five of the final six LPGA events this season, with the first three Asian Swing events shown on tape delay. The Mizuno Classic is not scheduled to be televised. The Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the CME Group Titleholders, the final two events, are scheduled to be shown live. … Lexi Thompson must be feeling the sibling pressure. Her oldest brother Nicholas is now 18th on the Web.com Tour (the top 25 advance to the 2013 PGA Tour) and middle brother Curtis, a sophomore at LSU, won his first collegiate title at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate last week with a 6-under-par 210 total as the Tigers won the team title. … Lorena Ochoa will make her first individual start since 2010 at this week’s French Open on the Ladies European Tour. Ochoa is scheduled to play in her event, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, on the LPGA in early November. … Last week at the Japan Women’s Open, Shanshan Feng beat Inbee Park by one stroke. Yani Tseng struggled to a final-round 81 and finished T55.

Topics: Stats and Stuff

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