Na Yeon Choi of South Korea heads into this week's season-ending LPGA Tour Championship ranked No. 5 in the Rolex Rankings, but if she has her way about it, she will conclude the season at the top of that list.
Choi has been a steady contender throughout the year, but cranked up her assault on the Rolex Rankings in the second half of the season, starting with a win in July at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger. The following week, she tied for runner-up honors at the U.S. Women's Open Championship, tied for second again at the Evian Masters the next week, and then tied for third at the RICOH Women's British Open at the LPGA's third major championship.
The third-year pro returned to the winner's circle in October for her second win of the season at the LPGA Hana Bank Championship. But while her two wins pushed her up the LPGA's money list, her ability to go low on Sunday has been key in her chase for the 2010 Rolex Rankings' crown.
Choi's four runner-up finishes and 14 top 10s in 22 events have pushed her to the top of several statistical categories. Leading the LPGA with a season scoring average of 69.77, Choi is also tops in birdies (321), rounds under par (73 percent), rounds in the 60s (49 percent) and sand saves (34 of 50). She is currently ranked No. 3 in putting with 28.65 putts per round.
In addition, she is the LPGA's top-ranked player on the season money list with 2010 earnings of nearly $1.815 million. The four-time career LPGA tournament winner is hoping for a hat trick at this week's Orlando tournament in the Florida city that she now calls home.
And if momentum counts for anything, Choi feels pretty good about her chances. After all, in her last 12 tournament starts, she has finished no worse than 16th, with two wins, three runner-up finishes and eight top fives. With one more win this week, the No. 1 position on the Rolex Rankings could finally be hers.
The Rolex Rankings awards points based on the field strength and evaluate a player's performance over a rolling two-year period weighted in favor of the current year with emphasis on the most recent 13 weeks of competition. The LPGA Tour Championship will decide who will end the 2010 LPGA Tour season as the Rolex Rankings No. 1.
Topics: Choi, Na Yeon