Is Rolex LPGA Player of the Year Still A Race?
Inbee Park isn’t looking over her shoulder yet, but she should watch out for the hard-charging duo of Suzann Pettersen and Stacy Lewis.
One month ago, Park had a huge lead in the Rolex LPGA Player of the Year standings. The lead is still significant but if either Pettersen or Lewis can cap the season with a Park-like surge, things could get interesting.
Last year, Pettersen was 30-under par with 40 birdies, six bogeys and two double bogeys in winning the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in South Korea (a three-hole playoff victory) and a comeback win at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship in consecutive weeks.
Lewis charged the following week at the Mizuno Classic in Japan, shooting a final-round 64 to capture the title that virtually locked up the 2012 Player of the Year title.
Pettersen is currently riding a streak of five consecutive top-10s, including back-to-back wins. Lewis has a win, a second and a T6 in three of her last four starts. The second place at the Safeway Classic was bogey free. Park has finished no better than a T13 in her last five starts since winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
With 12 victories between the three (six for Park and three each for Lewis and Pettersen), they have won 57 percent of the 2013 tournaments (in 21 events). In the last two seasons, Park has won eight times, Lewis seven and Pettersen five.
Rolex Player of the Year points are earned with top-10 finishes in tournaments, ranging from 30 for first place to 1 for 10th.
Here’s how the top three stand currently:
Inbee Park 281
Suzann Pettersen 204
Stacy Lewis 183
Solheim Cup and the LPGA in Iowa
Monday’s announcement that the Solheim Cup will be played in Iowa brings the event to a state that has previously hosted 10 LPGA tournaments, from 1956-66, but nothing of the scope of the biennial women’s golf event pitting the United States against Europe. Europe won earlier this year in Parker, Colo. The event goes to Heidelberg, Germany in 2015 and then back to Iowa in 2017.
More than 250,000 fans attended the full week of the U.S. Senior Open at Des Moines Country Club in 1999 and the Champions Tour makes an annual stop in the state with the Principal Charity Classic.
Here are the LPGA events that have been played in Iowa:
June 28-July 1, 1956, Western Open, Wakonda CC/Des Moines, Iowa, $5,000, Beverly Hanson, 304, $1,000; 2nd Louise Suggs 308.
Aug. 21-24, 1958, Waterloo Open, Sunnyside GC/Waterloo, Iowa, $7,000; Fay Crocker, 287, (-4), $1,247; 2nd Beverly Hanson 296 (+5).
Aug. 28-31, 1959, Waterloo Open, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $7,000; Betsy Rawls, 282 (-4), $1,247; 2nd Fay Crocker 284 (-2).
Aug. 4-7, 1960, Waterloo Open, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $7,000; Wiffi Smith, 286 (-4), $1,247; 2nd Kathy Whitworth 286 (-4) SD1.
Aug. 3-6, 1961, Waterloo Open, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $7,500; Mickey Wright, 286 (-4), $1,247; 2nd Kathy Whitworth 291 (+1).
Aug. 2-5, 1962, Waterloo Open, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $7,500; Marilynn Smith, 279 (-4), $1,200; 2nd Kathy Whitworth 284 (+1).
Aug. 9-11, 1963, Waterloo Women’s Open Invitational, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $7,500; Mickey Wright, 208, $1,200; 2nd Sandra Haynie 212.
Aug. 7-9, 1964, Waterloo Women’s Open Invitational, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $8,500; Shirley Englehorn, 211, $1,300; 2nd Ruth Jessen 215.
July 30-Aug. 1, 1965, Waterloo Open, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $8,000; Betsy Rawls, 214 (-3), $1,275; 2nd Marlene Hagge 218 (+1), Carol Mann 218 (+1) and Marilynn Smith 218 (+1).
June 24-26, 1966, Waterloo Women’s Open Invitational, Sunnyside CC/Waterloo, Iowa, $10,000; Carol Mann, 214, $1,500; 2nd Kathy Whitworth 216.
When American players go to China next week it will take some adjusting to a different time zone. Beijing is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. … The first LPGA event in China was Oct. 24-26, 2008 when Helen Alfredsson won the Grand China Air LPGA at Hainan Island, China. … In her consecutive wins, Pettersen’s putter may have been the key. In seven rounds, she took more than 28 putts only once – 31 in a third-round 70 at the Safeway Classic, her highest round in the last two tournaments.
This is the first year for the event.
Will Inbee Park defend her title?