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:
|1963||Clifford Ann Creed|
|1980||Myra Van Hoose (Blackwelder)|
|1986||Jody Rosenthan (Anschutz)|
|1998||Se Ri Pak|
|1999||Mi Hyun Kim|
|2004||Shi Hyun Ahn|
|2006||Seon Hwa Lee|
|2011||Hee Kyung Seo|