Momentum appears to have turned the way of the Americans.
U.S.A’s Angela Stanford and Ryann O’Toole sit atop the leaderboard following the opening round of the TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC, just the latest in a string of successes for the Americans in the second half of the season.
Expectations for the Americans were high this year, perhaps unreasonably so.
2014 was a special season for the U.S. and a tough one to match. The season featured nine Americans winning 13 events on Tour, including Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie picking up their first major victories. It was the most dominance they’ve shown since 2007, when 10 players won a total of 11 events.
The Americans got off to a slow start in 2015, capturing just two of the first 18 events with Cristie Kerr’s win at the Kia Classic followed by Brittany Lincicome’s victory the next week at the ANA Inspiration. Team U.S.A’s come from behind historic victory at the Solheim Cup was a win for the ages, but the tide began to turn even before the trip to Germany. Over the last ten events, beginning with the Meijer LPGA Classic in July, Americans have won four times and posted 32 top-10 finishes, not including this week’s TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC where four Americans are currently in the top-10.
In comparison, 2015 looks light on American wins, but a closer look reveals it’s actually 2014 that was the outlier.
American Wins 2005 - 2014
|2005||9||7 (C. Kim, Hurst, Kerr, Creamer, Bowie, Prammanasudh, Ward)|
|2006||7||5 (Kerr, Hurst, Steinhauer, Lincicome, Inkster)|
|2007||11||10 (Creamer, Lewis, Steinhauer, Gulbis, Kerr, Castrale, Lincicome, Pressel, Francella, Prammanasudh)|
|2008||9||6 (Creamer, Stanford, Kung, Pressel, Kerr, Lindley)|
|2009||5||5 (Wie, Kerr, Lincicome, Hurst, Stanford)|
|2010||5||4 (Francella, Kerr, Creamer, Wie)|
|2011||4||3 (Lewis, Lincicome, Thompson)|
|2012||8||5 (Kerr, Lewis, Lang, Stanford, Korda)|
|2013||7||4 (Lewis, Kerr, Johnson, Thompson)|
|2014||13||9 (C.Kim, Ernst, Martin, Lewis, Wie, Korda, Salas, Thompson, Creamer)|
What players from the U.S. have achieved this season is right on par with what they have accomplished over the last decade, minus 2014. Between 2005 and 2014, Americans have won an average of 7.8 events each season by an average of 5.8 winners. With two events remaining in 2015, U.S.A. has picked up six wins by five players, Lexi Thompson the lone multiple winner from the U.S. having captured the Meijer LPGA Classic and LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship.
Those six wins could have easily been double or triple that total, with Americans posting 14 runner-up finishes so far this season, six of those second place finishes belonging to Stacy Lewis who has been unable to break through for a win for the first time since 2010. This year, Lewis has 13 times finished in the top-10.
American Top 10's in 2015
|Overall Ranking||Name||Top 10's||Percentage|
|2||Stacy Lewis||13 of 24||54%|
|5||Lexi Thompson||11 of 21||52%|
|14||Alison Lee||6 of 22||27%|
|14||Morgan Pressel||6 of 26||23%|
|14||Cristie Kerr||6 of 23||26%|
|18||Brittany Lang||5 of 27||19%|
|18||Gerina Piller||5 of 24||21%|
|18||Brittany Lincicome||5 of 24||21%|
|24||Austin Ernst||4 of 27||15%|
|24||Paula Creamer||4 of 23||17%|
Lewis once again finds herself in the hunt after round one of the TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC, currently tied for eighth with Thompson and chasing their two fellow Americans at the top of the leaderboard.
An American might just come out on top on Sunday. Momentum is on their side.