While CINDY LACROSSE of Tampa, Fla., currently has a sizable lead for honors as the Duramed FUTURES Tour's Player of the Year, one of the more compelling races this season is for honors as the Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year.
Right now, rookie and two-time 2010 tournament winner JENNIFER SONG of Ann Arbor, Mich., leads second-ranked rookie JENNY SHIN of Torrance, Calif. The two are also Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, on the Tour's season money list. Song leads the rookie race with two wins in eight tournaments and season earnings of $51,375, to Shin's earnings of $49,296, with one win in 13 events.
Song is also enjoying momentum after last week's tie for 15th in the LPGA's CN Canadian Women's Open. She carded a final-round 68 in Canada to move into the top 15 and finish alongside such LPGA stars as Ai Miyazato of Japan and American Paula Creamer.
"I definitely feel really solid about my game," said Song after her final round at the CN Canadian Women's Open. "I'm really looking forward to Albany this week. I just need to keep my physical state high because I've been playing so many events."
Song's fatigue factor is a consideration. Following the NCAA Women's Golf Championship this spring, she left the University of Southern California after two seasons, remained amateur and played for the winning U.S. Curtis Cup team in early summer, and then kicked off her professional career at the Duramed FUTURES Tour's Tate & Lyle Players Championship in Illinois, which she won in June. Song competed in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open, has played a full second-half of the developmental tour's season and squeezed in two LPGA tournaments. She added her second Tour title three weeks ago at the Greater Richmond Golf Classic in Richmond, Va.
"It would be so mind-relieving to lock up my LPGA card this week," added Song, who currently leads the Tour in scoring average (69.125), sub-par rounds (79 percent), and par-4 scoring average (3.871 in 233 holes). "I could go back to Korea [where her parents live] and take some time off from golf. Every player needs that time. It would be so awesome."
But first, Song has to get past Shin, and Shin, a former U.S. Girls' Junior champion, is eager to add another tournament title to her rookie resume this year in a season where talent has been abundant and a variety of winners have been the norm.