Rookie Class Displayed Excellence

May 3 2012, Ward Clayton

Last week’s Mobile Bay LPGA Classic displayed the excellence of the rookie class on the LPGA this year, particularly frontrunners So Yeon Ryu and Lexi Thompson.

Thompson shot 66-65 on the weekend to fall one stroke shy of winner Stacy Lewis in Mobile, Ala., at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. For the 17-year-old Floridian, it was her best finish of the season. South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu continued her stellar career by finishing tied for fourth – her fourth finish in the top four in seven starts in 2012. Ryu holds a 131-point lead over Thompson in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award points.

Both players came into this season with high rookie expectations after winning last year on the LPGA as non-members. Ryu, 22, was a member of the Korean LPGA when she won the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open in a playoff. Thompson was age 16 when she captured the Navistar Classic late last year, becoming the youngest player to win a LPGA event.

Ryu’s career record on the LPGA is nearly spotless. She has made 12 starts since 2010 with no missed cuts and a worst finish of a tie for 56th earlier this year.

There is a group of players far behind Ryu and Thompson in the rookie race, but they have made their statistical marks already. Lizette Salas is third in the rookie standings and made the first four cuts of the season before missing the cut last week at Mobile. Mo Martin ranks second on the LPGA in Driving Accuracy (84 percent). Maude-Aimee Leblanc is second in Driving Distance (282-yard average) and Sydnee Michaels is ninth (271-yard average).

Here’s a look at the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winners since the award’s inception in 1962:

1962 Mary Mills
1963 Clifford Ann Creed
1964 Susie Berning 
1965 Margie Masters 
1966 Jan Ferraris
1967 Sharron Moran
1968 Sandra Post
1969 Jane Blalock
1970 JoAnne Carner
1971 Sally Little
1972 Jocelyne Bourassa
1973 Laura Baugh
1974 Jan Stephenson
1975 Amy Alcott
1976 Bonnie Lauer
1977 Debbie Massey
1978 Nancy Lopez
1979 Beth Daniel
1980 Myra Van Hoose (Blackwelder)
1981 Patty Sheehan 
1982 Patti Rizzo
1983 Stephanie Farwig
1984 Juli Inkster
1985 Penny Hammel
1986 Jody Rosenthan (Anschutz) 
1987 Tammie Green
1988 Liselotte Neumann 
1989 Pamela Wright  
1990 Hiromi Kobayashi 
1991 Brandie Burton
1992 Helen Alfredsson
1993 Suzanne Strudwick
1994 Annika Sorenstam
1995 Pat Hurst
1996 Karrie Webb
1997 Lisa Hackney
1998 Se Ri Pak
1999 Mi Hyun Kim
2000 Dorothy Delasin
2001 Hee-Won Han
2002 Beth Bauer
2003 Lorena Ochoa
2004 Shi Hyun Ahn
2005 Paula Creamer
2006 Seon Hwa Lee
2007 Angela Park
2008 Yani Tseng
2009 Jiyai Shin
2010 Azahara Munoz
2011 Hee Kyung Seo


Topics: Thompson, Lexi, Ryu, So Yeon, Rookie

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