BIG THREE BACK IN ACTION
The top players in the women’s game continue to raise the bar with consistently stellar play as of late and the “big three” of Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko, No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 3 Stacy Lewis have carried on a three-headed rivalry on Tour that has everyone else chasing them
Park, who was unseated from her No. 1 spot after the season-opening Coates Golf Championship, said she’s put the No. 1 ranking on the back burner for now.
“You know, if I was always No. 2 and if I never got to No. 1 spot, I probably would want it really bad to get to No. 1 spot,” said Park. “But you know, I’ve been to No. 1 spot before, and I think I feel like I have reached my goal before.
“So I mean I’m not like really eager to get to the spot. I’m just not going to try to push myself or push something to get to No. 1,” Park added. “I’m just going to play good golf and just play week in, week out and just play good golf, and it probably will get me to that spot. It’s not something that you can just push for.”
Scenarios this week at the Kia Classic for a change in the Rolex Rankings No. 1 spot:
Ko retains No. 1 if:
- She finishes in a three-way tie for second or better even if Park wins.
- Park finishes in a tie for second or worse regardless of what Lydia does
Park can go to No. 1 if:
- Park wins AND Ko finishes in a four-way tie for second or worse.
- Ko misses the cut AND Park finishes in solo second or better.
No. 3 Stacy Lewis cannot go to No. 1 regardless of what happens this week but she can move up to No. 2 if she wins and Park finishes in third or worse.
FINAL PUSH FOR ANA INSPIRATION
This week is the final week for players to earn their spots into the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. The final criteria for players to get into the field is top 20-players who aren’t already qualified and are currently in the top 80 on the Official Money List at the conclusion of the Kia Classic. As of right now Wei Ling Hsu is the last player in the field per the criteria and ranks 76th ($20,160) on the Money List through the JTBC Founders Cup. Here are the 10 players on the outside looking in on the Money List who are not already qualified for the event. All 10 players are in the field this week in Carlsbad.
|Money List Rank||Player||Money Earned (2015)|
GOOD START FOR PARK
After getting ousted from the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings after the first event of the season, Inbee Park hasn’t seemed fazed by the unseating of the top spot in the world. Park has been consistently good so far this season and said getting her first win of 2015 at the HSBC Women’s Champions three weeks ago was a great jumpstart to the season.
“I had a win in Singapore, which is great,” said Park. “The earlier the win comes, the better the season goes, I think, because it just gets a lot of pressure off of it you, and you’re kind of proving yourself that you can win this year and you can play well this year again.”
Park played in the LET event in China two weeks ago and finished runner-up to close friend So Yeon Ryu. She said she took it easy last week at home in Las Vegas and feels refreshed for the final two weeks of the LPGA’s west coast swing. Park hasn’t missed a cut in her last 18 starts, dating back to last May at the Airbus LPGA Classic. In her first four starts this year, she hasn’t finished outside the top-15. When asked what the key is to her consistency is, Park said she wasn’t sure but thinks it has to do something with her ball striking. And her stats back that up; she currently leads the Tour in greens in regulation (83.33%).
“I don’t know. It just -- I think once really your game reaches like a certain level, I think that probably puts you in certain spots like being consistent,” said Park. “And I think my ball striking lately has been really good. So I think that’s been the big key to stay consistent and stay in contention. Putting has been kind of on and off, but the ball striking definitely covered that the last couple of weeks.”
Park is primed for another good week in Carlsbad and has historically played well at the Kia Classic. Since the first year in 2010, Park hasn’t finished outside the top 20 and tied for sixth last year at Aviara. She said reading the poa annua greens has been the key for her success at the Carlsbad-based track.
“I think the greens are rolling much better,” said Park. “I mean they’re rolling a lot more consistent. I mean the greens are really tough here. So that’s why I think maybe I had an advantage for last couple of years, because I think I read the breaks really good and I had a good spin on the greens. I think that definitely gave me advantage last couple of years.”
“It’s pretty cool to have girls or boys that are similar age to me, and they say, oh, I look up to you. In a way it’s a little awkward because I don’t know exactly what kind of response I should be doing. But you know, it’s really fun, and you know, last week, with the girls’ golf, they had, I think like there were the girls there, on Sunday prior to the event, and they said, oh, sign up if you’re 17 years and younger, and I mean I could enter that.”
– Lydia Ko on being a role model at 17 years old
“I think the most surprising thing about her is her age, because nobody really played that well in her age. And how come she is and how her mentality is so strong.”
– Inbee Park on what impresses her the most on world No. 1 and 17-year old Lydia Ko
KEY NUMBERS TO KNOW
8 – Consecutive weeks at the top of the Rolex Rankings for Lydia Ko
4 – After her win last week, Hyo Joo Kim jumped four spots in the Rolex Rankings from 8 to 4
9 – Consecutive top-10 finishes by Lydia Ko, with her streak dating back to the Blue Bay LPGA last October
3 – Consecutive top-3 finishes by Stacy Lewis. She picked up her second runner-up of the season last week in Phoenix. She has four runner-ups since her last victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship last June
LEWIS LEAVING A LEGACY
Besides wanting to be the best female golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis has a bigger goal she’d like to achieve during her career: to leave the game better than she found it.
Lewis is well on her way and continues to provide opportunities for the next generation with an announcement she made on Wednesday morning in partnership with the AJGA and KPMG.
The inaugural KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational, a 54-hole, stroke-play championship at the Blessings Golf Club in Johnson, Arkansas, will be played June 22-25, 2015. The event will be the first format of its kind for the AJGA. A field of 64 of the best players (32 boys and 32 girls), ages 12-15, will play in mixed pairings to determine the Boys and Girls Division champions, as well as introduce a new boys-versus-girls team competition. In the team competition, the top eight cumulative boys’ scores and the top eight cumulative girls’ scores will decide the overall team champion.
“I am thrilled to see this tournament come to fruition where boys and girls will be playing together in the same pairings at a place that is so close to my heart” said Lewis. “I want to thank the Blessings Golf Club for agreeing to host this special event. I am excited about how this format will not only help to spark new friendships, but will also encourage the development of a healthy gender-blind respect for each other as fellow competitors. Thank you to the AJGA for saying yes to this unique format without hesitation and to my sponsor KPMG, who continues not only to support my endeavors on tour, but also the initiatives that are so important to me.”