The Vare Trophy, named for six-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion Glenna Collett-Vare, is awarded each year to the LPGA player with the lowest season scoring average. Established in 1953, the Vare Trophy is one of the most prestigious and coveted LPGA honors and carries the added bonus of a valuable point towards entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame. 2010 has witnessed an ultra-competitive battle for the Trophy with four different players - Na Yeon Choi (South Korea), Cristie Kerr (United States), Jiyai Shin (South Korea) and Suzann Pettersen (Norway), heading into the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship with scoring averages below 70.00.
Choi currently leads the LPGA Tour in scoring with a stroke average of 69.77. She holds a slim .09 shot advantage over Kerr (69.86). Pettersen sits in third place, averaging 69.92, while Shin trails closely behind, boasting a 69.95 average. The last time that more than one player finished an LPGA season with a scoring average under 70.00 was back in 2006, when Lorena Ochoa (69.24) and Annika Sorenstam (69.87) finished one, two that year.
Scoring has been strong throughout the 2010 season. In addition to the four players currently carrying scoring averages below 70.00, another seven claim averages under 71.00 - Song-Hee Kim (70.07), In-Kyung Kim (70.46), Yani Tseng (70.48), Ai Miyazato (70.48), Paula Creamer (70.77), Inbee Park (70.83) and Morgan Pressel (70.96).
While other season-ending awards - the Rolex Player of the Year and the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year - are based on points, the Vare Trophy is basic math. The player that shoots the lowest scores on the most consistent basis wins. A minimum of 70 official LPGA tournament rounds is required to qualify for the award. The LPGA Tour Championship will feature a two-player showdown between Choi and Kerr for the Vare Trophy. Shin, who was sidelined earlier this year with an emergency appendectomy, and Pettersen, who nursed a hip injury in 2010, will not meet the minimum number of required rounds for the award.
The list of former Vare Trophy winners is a testament to the quality of golf that must be played week in and week out on the LPGA Tour. Since 1953, 23 different LPGA players have captured the Vare Trophy, and 18 of those players are members of the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame. LPGA Founder Patty Berg took home the first Vare Trophy, while Kathy Whitworth holds the record for the most Vare Trophy wins with seven. JoAnne Carner won the award six times, and Mickey Wright and Annika Sorenstam each took home the trophy five times. Wright holds the record for most consecutive Vare Trophy wins with five (1960-1964). In addition to winning the Vare Trophy five times, Sorenstam became the first player to break both the 70.00 and 69.00 stroke average barriers. In 1998, she averaged 69.99 strokes per round. In 2002, she logged a remarkable stroke average of 68.70. Sorenstam stands as the only LPGA player to ever achieve this mark. In all, four different players have won the award with scoring averages below 70.00 - Sorenstam (1998, 2001, 2002 and 2005), Grace Park (2004), Karrie Webb (1999) and Lorena Ochoa (2006-2008).
Topics: Press Release, Choi, Na Yeon, Kerr, Cristie, Shin, Jiyai, Pettersen, Suzann [+]