By Ward Clayton
Statistical leaders coming down the stretch
With a two-week break before the Asian Swing of the LPGA and just six tournaments remaining in the season, let's take a look at various statistical categories and who is leading the way as the stretch run comes.
Earnings: Inbee Park leads the money list with $1,669,608, with more than 86 percent of that coming during a hot summer where she is riding a streak of nine consecutive top-nine finishes. That stretch includes a $300,000 paycheck at the CN Canadian Women's Open, where she finished second to amateur Lydia Ko but earned the first-place prize money. Stacy Lewis crept closer to the top spot ($1,598,596) with her victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic last week.
Scoring average: Jiyai Shin (70.14) has a small lead over Stacy Lewis (70.33). Much of that can be attributed to Shin missing nearly two months after wrist surgery. She has played 51 rounds. Lewis has played 75 rounds and is the only player in the top 10 with 70-plus rounds played.
Rolex Player of the Year: Stacy Lewis has built a large lead with her three victories and consistency. She has 184 points to second-place Jiyai Shin's 128.
Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year: So Yeon Ryu has nearly double the points of second-place Lexi Thompson (1,117 to 652).
Greens in Regulation: Karen Sjodin, who holds the marks for longest driving distance seasons (284.5-yard average in 2006 and 275.6 in 2007), tops this category at 75.9 percent.
Putting: There's a reason Inbee Park has been successful this year. She leads the LPGA in Putts per Green in Regulation (1.73) and Putting Average (28.25 per round).
Driving Accuracy: Mika Miyazato won for the first time in her career this year, attributable to her accuracy off the tee. She has hit 85.5 percent (537 fairways hit in 628 attempts). Just behind Miyazato is rookie Mo Martin, who has hit 84.3 percent but has played more often - Martin has hit almost as many fairways (627) as Miyazato has attempted in 744 tries.
Driving Distance: This is an interesting category for two reasons. The current leader, rookie Maude-Aimee Leblanc, is averaging 282 yards but is sidelined for the season with a back injury and won't meet the minimum number of tournament starts to qualify. Additionally, the Driving Distance leader earns the Kia Power Drive award and a new Kia for topping the category. Brittany Lincicome, a two-time Driving Distance leader who has never finished worse than third in this category since turning pro in 2005, has the advantage with a 276-yard average. Rookie Lexi Thompson and Gerina Piller are tied at 271.
Top-10 finishes: This is another category with a Kia awarded to the player as the Kia Drive to the Top champion. This category is calculated as a percentage of top-10 finishes. Stacy Lewis leads with 67 percent (14 of 21) and has three more top-10 finishes than her nearest competitor (11 by So Yeon Ryu).
Rounds under par: Jiyai Shin leads at 74.5 percent (38 of 51 rounds) with Ai Miyazato second at 66.1 percent (39 of 59). Stacy Lewis has the most under-par rounds (46) but ranks seventh at 61.3 percent because she has the most rounds played of anyone in the top 20.
Most wins: Stacy Lewis and Yani Tseng lead the LPGA with three wins each. The last time three wins led the LPGA for the season was 2010 when Jiyai Shin and Lorena Ochoa won three times apiece.
Birdies, Eagles: Stacy Lewis has 20 more birdies than any player (296) and has four more eagles than her nearest competitor (11).
Rounds in the 60s: Once again Stacy Lewis leads by total number (30) and also percentage (40 percent).
Sub-par holes: After dominating the statistics last year, this is the only category that Yani Tseng leads this year. She has played 133 sub-par holes to Lewis' 123.
Aces: Brittany Lincicome, with two, is the only player to make multiple aces this year.
Rounds played: Beatriz Recari has played all 77 rounds on the LPGA that count toward this category this year. The 25-year-old Spaniard also played the 36-hole, unofficial HSBC LPGA Brazil Cup and lost in the second round of the Sybase Match Play Championship, giving her 81 rounds played of a possible 85 on the schedule. Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lang have played all the official medal-play events, but each player missed a cut (Lewis at the LPGA Lotte Championship and Lang at the Ricoh Women's British Open). Lewis finished T5 at the Sybase Match Play (lost in fourth round) and didn't play in Brazil. Lang also played in Brazil and advanced to the second round of the Sybase Match Play. There are 21 players who have played in all 21 official medal-play events.
Lexi Thompson has three career runner-up finishes, twice this season behind Stacy Lewis in Alabama and a T2 at the 2010 Evian Masters, one stroke behind Jiyai Shin. … Stacy Lewis' victory last week at the Navistar LPGA Classic broke a streak of eight consecutive LPGA wins by Asian golfers. American Brittany Lang's win at the June 24 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic was the previous win by a non-Asian golfer. … Speaking of Asian golf, the next four LPGA events are scheduled for Asia - the Oct. 11-14 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, the Oct. 19-21 LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in South Korea, the Oct. 25-28 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship and the Nov. 2-4 Mizuno Classic in Japan.
Topics: Stats and Stuff