DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 18, 2010 - The top-five ranked players in the world - No. 1 Ai Miyazato, No. 2 Cristie Kerr, No. 3 Jiyai Shin, No. 4 Yani Tseng and No. 5 Suzann Pettersen - will compete head-to-head for the first time this week since they last met more than a month ago at the P&G NW Arkansas Championship Presented by Walmart.
As the LPGA moves east for the inaugural playing of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, the question remains, "Who is the No. 1 female golfer on the planet?" Rolex Rankings No. 2 Cristie Kerr nearly reclaimed the coveted No. 1 position in each of her last two starts. One shaved shot in either tournament could have place Kerr at the head of the class.
The race to be Rolex Rankings No. 1 ignited in May following the retirement of Lorena Ochoa and has sizzled with three players from three different countries - American Kerr, Japan's Miyazato and South Korean Shin - taking turns as the top player in the world. Two more players - Taiwan's Tseng and Norwegian Pettersen - have challenged for the No. 1 spot on a weekly basis and remain in the mix to hold the top spot at season's end.
Only 0.54 average points separates the current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Miyazato from No. 5 Pettersen. No. 6 Na Yeon Choi sits a little less than a full point behind Pettersen. The remaining five events on the 2010 schedule will determine which players--if any--can make the necessary jump to topple Miyazato from the top.
|Rolex Rankings, Oct. 18, 2010|
|6||Na Yeon Choi||KOR||9.41|
|10||Sun Ju Ahn||KOR||7.04|
In addition to the battle for the top spot in the Rolex Rankings, the top-5 players in the world are also locked in races for the Rolex Player of the Year, LPGA Official Money List and Vare Trophy for low scoring average.
New Rolex Player of the Year to be crowned
Yani Tseng holds a narrow two-point lead over Ai Miyazato in the race to become the new Rolex Player of the Year. On the strength of major championship victories at the Kraft Nabisco and the RICOH Women's British Open, Tseng is in contention for her first-ever Player of the Year honors. Tseng, who won the 2008 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, is by no means safe at the top with a host of players on her heels.
|Na Yeon Choi||134|
Kerr leads tight Vare Trophy race
American Cristie Kerr holds a slim 0.01 stroke lead over Na Yeon Choi in the race for the 2010 Vare Trophy for low scoring average. Eleven players currently boast scoring averages under 71, including eight of the top-9 on the Rolex Rankings. Kerr has averaged 68.50 in her last two LPGA starts.
|Na Yeon Choi||69.89|
Shin looks for back-to-back money list titles
South Korean Jiyai Shin holds a narrow advantage in her hunt for back-to-back money titles on the LPGA. The 2009 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year became the first South Korean to top the LPGA Official Money List last year with a $1,807,334. To date this year, she is one of six players to cross the $1 million mark in season earnings and currently holds a $14,638 advantage over Na Yeon Choi with five events remaining.
|Na Yeon Choi||$1,449,052|
Munoz holds healthy lead in Rookie of the Year race
While Spain's Azahara Munoz continues to hold a commanding lead the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, two other rookies made quantum leaps this week in an effort to tighten the contest. Spain's Beatriz Recari became the first rookie of the 2010 season to win an LPGA event. Recari, who is also only the second Rolex First-Time winner this year, captured the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge and earned 150 points in the rookie race to jump into third place in the standings. France's Gwladys Nocera finished one stroke behind Recari this week for a solo second. Nocera, a 10-time winner on the LET, currently sits second behind Munoz in the rookie race.
About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA is the world's leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 1,700 members representing 29 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women's golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management. The Duramed FUTURES Tour serves as the official developmental tour of the LPGA, consistently producing a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: www.LPGA.com, www.facebook.com/lpga.official, www.twitter.com/lpga, and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo.