Annie Park Makes Rolex Rankings Move of the Week
At the end of the 2017 season, things looked bleak for Annie Park. She finished No. 127 on the money list and had earned under $60,000.
Then, at the 2017 LPGA Qualifying Tournament, she finished 141st and her prospects for 2018 appeared even blurrier.
When the LPGA Priority List was first released at the turn of the new year, Park was No. 366 on the list in Category 20, which means in a full field event of 144 players, she was beyond a long shot to even get in.
So, she started her season on the Symetra Tour, where she made two starts.
Park didn’t get her first LPGA start until April, when she Monday Qualified for the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. She took full advantage with a T18 finish and then got reshuffled on the Priority List to earn more starts on the LPGA Tour.
After a T42 finish at the Kingsmill Championship and a T40 finish at the LPGA Volvik Championship, she did the unthinkable and won the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Following a fifth place result at the Symetra Tour season opener, Park was No. 299 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. After her win in Atlantic City, she moved up 154 spots to No. 82, the highest ranking of her career.
Pernilla Lindberg’s win at the ANA Inspiration may be the story we remember most from 2018 because of the major stage on which she won, but Park’s win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic is one of the true underdog victories in the history of the LPGA.
Park climbed from No. 113 to No. 30 on the LPGA money list, likely securing her LPGA card for the 2019 season. She also moved into Category 4 on the Priority List. Just six months ago she was No. 366 on the priority list and now, she is No. 82.
Marina Alex to No. 14 on Race to the CME Globe
Marina Alex had a finish-to-remember at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She spun in a hole-in-one at the 17th hole and then birdied the 18th to finish third. While she didn’t see any change in her world ranking – No. 35 – she did move from No. 22 to No. 14 in the Race to the CME Globe standings. The Jersey native also moved from No. 28 to No. 19 on the official LPGA money list. Alex has never finished higher than 27th on the list.
Inbee Park Hits 100 Weeks at No. 1
Inbee Park joins an elite club this week as she spends her 100th total week as the No. 1 player in the world. She is the fourth player in the history of the Rolex Rankings (since 2006) to spend a total of 100 weeks at No. 1. The other four are Lorena Ochoa (158 weeks), Yani Tseng (109 weeks) and Lydia Ko (104 weeks). Park first rose to No. 1 during her historic 2013 season. This year, she returned to the No. 1 spot following her T2 finish at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.
Michelle Wie Separates From Danielle Kang…A Bit
Michelle Wie didn’t play the ShopRite LPGA Classic, but her T10 at the U.S. Women’s Open was enough to move her up three spots in the Rolex Rankings this week to No. 15. Danielle Kang also skipped the event last week and stayed at No. 20. The two are in the marquee battle for the final spot on Team USA for the UL International Crown. The good news for Kang is that there are still three events remaining in the chase for the fourth spot. The even better news is that she has played really well of late. She finished fourth at the U.S. Women’s Open, T7 at the LPGA Volvik Championship and T17 at the Kingsmill Championship.
Su Oh also made an important move in the UL International Crown standings by finishing T5 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She moved up seven spots and remains in the fourth position on Team Australia, but increased her cushion over the fifth ranked player, Hannah Green.
Choi and Chun Remain in Touch for Team Republic of Korea
It’s definitely the hardest team to make in all of sports: Team Republic of Korea for the UL International Crown. Right now, you have to be a top seven player in the world just to make the team. In-Kyung Kim is currently the fourth ranked player on the team at No. 7 in the world. Hye Jin Choi and In Gee Chun remain hopeful at No. 10 and No. 13, respectively. Chun finished in a tie for tenth at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and moved up one spot to No. 13. It’ll likely take a win or a series of top five finishes over the final three events for Chun or Choi to jump past Kim or So Yeon Ryu, who is No. 6 in the world.
Sandra Gal Moves Back Near Top 100 in World
Sandra Gal has had her struggles this year so it was refreshing to see her post a T5 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She jumped up 16 spots in the Rolex Rankings to No. 101. She ended 2017 as the No. 92 ranked player in the world and has gone in the wrong direction for much of the year, climbing as high as No. 117 after missing the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Not too long ago, Gal was a top 40 player in the world. She spent most of 2015 ranked inside the top 40.
Symetra Tour Volvik Race for LPGA Card UpdateWith her incredible performance at the Four Winds Invitational, Maia Schechter jumped 125 spots in the Volvik Race for the Card standings. She climbed from No. 132 to No. 7.
As the move of the week on the Symetra Tour, it comes as part of two firsts in Schechter’s professional golf career: her first win on Tour, and the first time she finds herself in the top-10.
“It’s still early in the season, so it’s just one week at a time,” said Schechter. “This really gave me a lot of confidence moving forward and feeling like I do belong on the LPGA. Also feeling like I belong in the top-10 on the Symetra Tour.”
Just $291 behind Schechter is Louise Ridderstrom, who took a week off after claiming the inaugural Valley Forge Invitational crown. From there, Lauren Kim is only $61 back of Ridderstrom, and Charlotte Thomas rounds out the top-10.
Meanwhile, Jenny Haglund still has the No. 1 position on lockdown, but there is a new No. 2 in Elizabeth Szokol. She passed Dottie Ardina with a tied for 19th finish at the Four Winds Invitational to collect $1,555.