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Stats and Stuff: Lewis, Park battling for earnings, Vare Trophy

Photo Credit: Cioran Castaneda/Getty Images

Inbee Park plays a shot on the 1st hole during the closing day of the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Country Club Guadalajara.

November 14 2012, Ward Clayton

Stacy Lewis sewed up the Rolex Player of the Year title last week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. However, Lewis is still battling Inbee Park for two other prestigious season-long honors – the earnings title and the Vare Trophy for the lowest stroke average. Park could very well end up with the money title, the Vare Trophy and first place in both putting categories.

With one tournament remaining in the season, the CME Group Titleholders, here are some key statistical battles remaining:

Earnings: Inbee Park has won $2,266,638 and has a $402,682 lead over second-place Stacy Lewis. However, with the $500,000 first-place check at the CME Group Titleholders, Lewis could move ahead of Park with a win. If Park finishes solo second (a $106,379 payday), she would win the money title no matter if Lewis wins. No one else can supplant Park.

Vare Trophy: Once again, Park and Lewis are battling down to the wire for the award that goes to the player with the lowest scoring average during the season. Lewis must beat Park by six strokes this week to overcome her scoring deficit (Park has a 70.2 average and Lewis a 70.26).

Jiyai Shin, who is in this week’s field, owns a 70.25 stroke average, which ranks second, but she doesn’t have enough starts this season to qualify (minimum of 70 rounds or 70 percent of the rounds on the season, whichever is less). She missed two months after wrist surgery in early summer. Park surpassed Shin for first last week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

The trophy, named after World Golf Hall of Fame amateur Glenna Collett Vare, was first awarded in 1953. This year’s winner will be the 60th recipient.

 

The Contenders    
Player Strokes Rounds Average
Inbee Park 5,686 81 70.2
Stacy Lewis 6,253 89 70.26
     
Previous Winners    
2011 - Yani Tseng, 69.66    
2010 - Na Yeon Choi, 69.87    
2009 - Lorena Ochoa, 70.16    
2008 - Lorena Ochoa, 69.70    
2007 - Lorena Ochoa, 69.69    
Click here for full listing >>    


Greens in Regulation: Karin Sjodin is aiming for a rare career double this week at the CME Group Titleholders. She leads the Greens in Regulation category at 75.9, percent, just ahead of Stacy Lewis (75.4 percent) and Sun Young Yoo (75.1). Sjodin led the LPGA in Driving Distance in 2006 and 2007 with record averages of 284.5 and 275.8, respectively.

Sjodin’s current average is the best since 2005 when Annika Sorenstam hit 77.2 percent of the greens.

In the last 20 years, only two players have led both the Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy categories and they even accomplished the feat in the same year – Annika Sorenstam in 2003 and Lorena Ochoa in 2008. Last year, Yani Tseng, the Driving Distance leader among many other categories, was edged out by Suzann Pettersen in the Greens in Regulation category.

Driving Accuracy: Along with winning her first LPGA title in 2012, Japan’s Mika Miyazato is closing on the Driving Accuracy title. She has hit 85.5 percent of the fairways this year, ahead of rookie Mo Martin (84.3 percent).

Putting: Inbee Park leads both putting categories entering the final week – 1.72 puts per green in regulation (ahead of Stacy Lewis and So Yeon Ryu at 1.75). She has also averaged a LPGA-best 28.25 putts per round, ahead of Morgan Pressel (28.39).

Average Driving Distance: Here is another category affected by injury. Rookie Maude-Aimee Leblanc was averaging 282 yards through late summer and then was sidelined for the year with a stress fracture in her back. Therefore, she doesn’t meet the minimum number of starts to qualify. In steps Brittany Lincicome, a two-time Driving Distance leader who has never finished worse than third in this category since turning pro in 2005. She is averaging 275 yards, ahead of rookie Lexi Thompson at 272.

The Driving Distance leader earns the Kia Power Drive award and a new Kia for topping the category.

Top-10 finishes: Stacy Lewis has the most top-10s so far this season with 16 out of 25 events. Lewis topped So Yeon Ryu by one. Each has another opportunity to earn one more top-10 at this week's season-ending CME Group Titleholders.

This is another category with a Kia awarded to the player as the Kia Drive to the Top champion and the cut off for this award was after the Mizuno Classic.

Most wins: Stacy Lewis is the only LPGA player with four wins this season. Yani Tseng, who won three times early in the season, is the only player who can tie her.

Birdies, eagles: Stacy Lewis has more birdies (351) and eagles (11) than anyone.

Sub-par holes: Stacy Lewis has 362 sub-par holes this season to lead the category.

Aces:  Brittany Lincicome, with two, is the only player to make multiple aces this year.

Rounds played: Beatriz Recari has played all 95 official medal-play rounds on the LPGA. With the CME Group Titleholders a 72-hole, no-cut event, Recari is assured of reaching 99 rounds. The 25-year-old Spaniard also played in the 36-hole, unofficial HSBC LPGA Brazil cup and reached the second round of the Sybase Match Play Championship, giving her 99 of a possible 103 rounds thus far. Recari is joined by Chella Choi, Vicky Hurst and Anna Nordqvist among those who have played every official event this year.

 

New course for CME Group Titleholders

Last year’s CME Group Titleholders was played at Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla., with Hee Young Park taking the title. This year, the event moves southwest to Naples, Fla., and the new Eagle Course at TwinEagles Golf Club, designed by Steve Smyers. The course opened in January.

The Eagle Course can stretch to 7,600 yards but will play approximately 1,000 yards shorter for the LPGA. The course ends with two long par 4s (Nos. 15 and 18), a drivable par 4 (No. 16) and a par 3 with many tee possibilities (No. 17).

The Talon Course at TwinEagles, a collaboration between Jack Nicklaus and his oldest son, Jack II, was the host course for the Champions Tour’s ACE Group Classic from 2002-2006.

 

Etc.

Michelle Wie shared the first-round lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last week at the same course where she earned her first LPGA title in 2009. … Cristie Kerr’s victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last week, coupled with Stacy Lewis’ win the week before at the Mizuno Classic, marked the first time that Americans have won consecutive LPGA events since Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford won the Safeway Ping and Bell Micro LPGA in August-September 2008. … Lorena Ochoa’s T18 performance at 4-under par last week in her own tournament earned a slot in this week’s CME Group Titleholders, but Ochoa is not playing since she is playing a limited schedule following retirement in 2010.

Topics: Stats and Stuff

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