All Stacy Lewis has to do this week to clinch the Rolex Women’s Player of the Year honor is finish eighth or better in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.
With 214 points and two tournaments remaining in the season, Lewis is 58 points ahead of Inbee Park. Park would have to win both events and Lewis can finish no better than T9 in one event or T10 in both (two points maximum). In the Rolex points system (with no ties), 30 points are given for first, 12 for second, nine for third, seven for fourth; six for fifth, five for sixth, four for seventh, three for eighth, two for ninth and one for 10th. Should they tie in points, Lewis and Park would be declared co-Players of the Year.
“Annika orentam and Karrie Webb went on a run, and Lorena Ooa went on a run,” Lewis said after winning the Mizuno Classic last week. “There has kind of been a dominant player I think in the past few years, and it hasn’t been a player from the United States. For me, I got tired of answering those questions about where all the American players are. That was my goal, just to break that trend.”
Lewis aims to become the first American Player of the Year since Beth Daniel in 1994.
Lewis’ June 3 victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey moved her past Yani Tseng, the 2010 and 2011 Player of the Year, for the first time, with a 123-120 advantage. A victory on Sept. 23 at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama expanded Lewis’ lead to 56 points, with 184 points, over second-place Jiyai Shin. Shin had moved to second with consecutive wins at the Kingsmill Championship and Ricoh Women’s British Open earlier in September. Park won the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and placed second at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship to pull within 28 points of Lewis entering last week’s tournament.
Shin out of Vare Trophy contention
Jiyai Shin still shows up in first place in the race for the Vare Trophy that goes to the player with the lowest scoring average. However, Shin is ineligible to win as she will not meet the minimum of 70 rounds played or 70 percent of the official medal-play rounds during the season. She is not entered in this week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
That sets up quite a battle for the award as Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis are separated by 19/1,000ths of a point. Should Lewis beat Park by two strokes in the final two tournaments, she would overtake Park for first place. So Yeon Ryu, in fourth, is just 55/1,000ths of a point behind Park. She needs to better Park by 10 strokes over the final two tournaments.
Here is the stroke average top five:
|4||So Yeon Ryu||5493||70.42||22|
|5||Na Yeon Choi||5506||70.59||21|
Tseng’s Rolex World Rankings lead shrinking
Yani Tseng is ranked No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for a 91st consecutive week, but Stacy Lewis’ surge this season has sliced her lead in half. On April 16, Tseng had a 9.32-point lead in the standings over Na Yeon Choi. In Monday’s Rankings, Lewis has moved to within 4.55 points (13.32-8.77). Lewis was ranked ninth and nearly 12 points behind Tseng on April 16. She has won four times since then, while Tseng has failed to win since a March 25 victory at the Kia Classic.
Guadalajara Country Club
Guadalajara Country Club will be the site of the fifth playing of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational this week. Ochoa will be in the field for the fourth time; she missed last year as she was expecting her first child. Ochoa grew up adjacent to Guadalajara CC.
Guadalajara has a long history back to the early part of the 20th century when Texan John Bredemus designed the course. Bredemus, the first Texas golf course architect, also had a hand in designing Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Tex., along with Perry Maxwell. He designed Glen Garden Country Club in Fort Worth where Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson learned the game as caddies.
What a year for China in golf. First, Shanshan Feng became the first Chinese player to win an LPGA tournament when she captured the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June. Then last week, 14-year-old amateur Tianlang Guan won the Asia-Pacific Amateur to qualify for the 2013 Masters Tournament, the youngest player to ever make the field for the men’s first major championship. Earlier this year, Lydia Ko, a South Korean-born amateur who lives in New Zealand, won the CN Canadian Women’s Open on the LPGA at age 15 years, 4 months and 2 days to become the youngest winner in LPGA history. … Stacy Lewis’ final-round 64 to win the Mizuno Classic last week was the third time this year that she has shot 64. She shot 64 twice at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in June (T5) and set a career low with a first-round 63 at the Evian Masters in July (T2). … Four Americans have won on the LPGA this season – Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lang and Stacy Lewis (four times).