Voting will take place now through October 22 on LPGA.com
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., Sept. 24, 2012 – The 2012 LPGA season already has produced a number of memorable performances and now fans have the opportunity to honor one of the year’s best achievements with the inaugural Kia “Most Compelling” Performance Award. Beginning today, fans will be able to vote on LPGA.com for the player with the most compelling performance so far in 2012. Five players are up for the honor – Jessica Korda, Inbee Park, Jiyai Shin, Stacy Lewis and Yani Tseng.
Voting will open at noon ET and it will end at midnight ET on October 22. Fans can vote by visiting www.lpga.com/kiaperformanceawards where a video featuring each of the top performances will be showcased on the website. Fans can vote once per day.
Each of the four Kia Performance Awards will be announced on the 18th green following the end of third-round play at the CME Group Titleholders, which will take place November 15-18 at TwinEagles Golf Club in Naples, Fla. Each winner will receive a brand-new 2013 Kia Optima Limited.
Here are the five players up for this year’s Kia Most Compelling Performance Award:
The second-year LPGA Tour member sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a six-way playoff to become a Rolex First-Time Winner at the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne Golf Club. In doing so, she also became the fourth-youngest winner in LPGA Tour history at the age of 19. Korda, who held a slim one-stroke after three rounds, fired a 1-over 74 in the final round to earn her way into an LPGA record-tying, six-way playoff that included Brittany Lincicome, Stacy Lewis, Julieta Granada, Hee Kyung Seo and So Yeon Ryu. This victory held extra significance because Korda’s father, former tennis legend Petr Korda, won his first and only Grand Slam in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
Two victories in a stretch of three events vaulted Lewis into the coveted spot as top-ranked American in the Rolex Rankings, a position long held by Cristie Kerr. One year after earning her first LPGA victory at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, Lewis proved that she’s one of the rising players on Tour during a tremendous midseason stretch. Lewis earned her second career LPGA Tour victory at the 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic by staving off a charge from 17-year-old rookie Lexi Thompson on the final day. In the Tour’s next stroke play event, the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Lewis once again took home the trophy with a four-shot victory over Katherine Hull of Australia.
The 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion returned to the LPGA full-time in grand fashion with nine consecutive top-10 finishes this season beginning at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, including a victory at the Evian Masters and ties for second at the Manulife LPGA Financial Classic and the CN Canadian Women’s Open. Park earned solo second at the CN Canadian Women’s Open when she holed a pitch shot from 60 yards on the 72nd hole. With amateur Lydia Ko capturing the title, first-place money went to the runner-up, giving Park the $300,000 first-place check and bumping her into first place on the money list. Park has earned $1,541,206 million (92 percent) of that in the last nine events.
It took nine playoff holes and an extra day of play, but Shin ended a two-year winless drought after defeating Paula Creamer in the longest two-player playoff in LPGA history at the Kingsmill Championship. The two were sent into extra holes after Creamer missed a par opportunity to seal a victory on Sunday. After going par-for-par playing the 18th hole eight times following their round, they decided to continue Monday morning due to darkness. The two started Monday morning on the 16th hole and after similar approach shots Creamer three-putted to take a bogey for the hole, giving Shin an easy putt for par to seal the win. Shin then made it back-to-back victories when she captured her second career major at the RICOH Women’s British Open. The 10-time LPGA winner dominated the field at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, capturing a record nine-stroke victory.
Tseng, who has held the Rolex Rankings No. 1 spot since February 2011, won three of the first five events on the LPGA schedule this season including the Honda LPGA Thailand and back-to-back wins at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and the Kia Classic. The victories were the 13th, 14th and 15th of her young career. She is the second-youngest player in LPGA history to win 15 times (23 years old) behind only Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez. Tseng is also one of only two players in the last two seasons to win back-to-back tournaments (Ai Miyazato – 2010).
With each vote cast for the Kia Most Compelling Performance Award on lpga.com, fans will also be eligible to enter for the chance to win a trip to the CME Group Titleholders. The winning fan will be treated to a six-day, five-night trip for themselves and a guest which includes airfare, hotel, 2 passes for each day of the tournament and 2 “behind the ropes” passes to rub elbows with their favorite LPGA players for one day of the CME Group Titleholders.