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Ryu leads Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race

LPGA Tour - Wed, 21/03/2012 - 16:15
Heading into the fifth event of the season, the Kia Classic, So Yeon Ryu has a large lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. Ryu's season got off to a hot start when she finished T2 at the first event of the season, the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. She followed that up two weeks later with a T11 finish at the HSBC Women's Champions.

Last week the LPGA Tour kicked off its domestic season at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. After battling the rain, wind, hail, and lightning during the final round, Ryu held on to a fourth place finish to boost her higher in the rookie race. Ryu isn't a stranger to success as she won the 2011 U.S. Women's Open in a playoff against fellow Korean Hee Kyung Seo.

 

Rank Player Points Events 1 So Yeon Ryu 198.00 3 2 Lexi Thompson 73.00 3 3 Cydney Clanton 32.00 2 4 Lizette Salas 28.00 1 5 Mo Martin 26.00 2 T6 Rebecca Lee-Bentham 10.00 2 T6 Danielle Kang 10.00 2 T6 Victoria Tanco 10.00 2 T9 Numa Gulyanamitta 5.00 3 T9 Sandra Changkija 5.00 2

Stats and Stuff: Kia Classic

LPGA Tour - Wed, 21/03/2012 - 15:47

In this week's Stats and Stuff, Ward Clayton recaps the recent play on Tour.

 

Miyazato’s scoring average

Ai Miyazato has not won on the LPGA thus far this season, but she leads the LPGA in Scoring Average. In three starts, the 26-year-old Japanese star has finished second twice – both times behind Yani Tseng – and tied for sixth. In 12 rounds thus far, she has recorded nine rounds in the 60s, with a low of 65, and just one round over par (73). Her scoring average is 68.31. The Scoring Average leader at the end of the season receives the Vare Trophy.

The top five in Scoring Average thus far this season:

1 Ai Miyazato 68.31 2 Yani Tseng 68.95 3 Na Yeon Choi 69.06 4 Shanshan Feng 69.50 5 So Yeon Ryu 70.13

 

Tseng’s fast start

Yani Tseng’s fast start should be a concern for her competitors on the LPGA Tour. Since becoming a member of the LPGA in 2008, Tseng has won four times in her first four starts on the season (16 tournaments total). This year, she has won twice in the first four starts for her best career start to a season.

A look at Tseng’s first four tournament starts annually: 2008: 0 wins, 2 top-10 finishes 2009: 0 wins, 3 top-10 finishes 2010: 1 win, 3 top-10 finishes 2011: 1 win, 3 top-10 finishes 2012: 2 wins, 4 top-10 finishes

Close finishes continue

With last week’s one-stroke victory by Yani Tseng at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, the 2012 season is off to a historic competitive start, matching the 2002 season. The first four events this year have been determined in two playoffs and two with one-stroke victory margins. The 2002 season began with two playoffs and then had four consecutive tournaments won by one-stroke margins.

Another similarity between 2002 and this year is the dominance of one player. Annika Sorenstam won two of the first four events in 2002 on the way to an 11-win season. Tseng has won two of the first four tournaments this year.

A look at the 2002 start:

Tournament Winner Margin LPGA Takefuji Classic Annika Sorenstam First hole of 2-player playoff PING Banner Health Rachel Teske Second hole of 2-player playoff Welch’s/Circle K Championship Laura Diaz 1 stroke Kraft Nabisco Championship Annika Sorenstam 1 stroke The Office Depot Challenge Se Ri Pak 1 stroke Longs Drugs Challenge Cristie Kerr 1 stroke

 

Lincicome’s streak

Brittany Lincicome missed the cut at last week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. That was a rarity for the 26-year-old from Seminole, Fla. The last time Lincicome missed the cut was at the 2010 Kia Classic, a streak of 45 consecutive made cuts. During that time period, Lincicome has the following results: • 2 wins (both in 2

Rebecca Lee-Bentham: Rookie Blog Two

LPGA Tour - Wed, 21/03/2012 - 14:55

Hey everyone!

Just finished off my second event of the season at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, and I’m two for two cuts made! Final round was a bit rough- playing in the cold, wind, rain, and hail- but it’s all a learning experience and I’m definitely enjoying the journey. Now I’m in Carlsbad, California getting ready for the Kia Classic!

It’s my 20th birthday today and I just feel so grateful for what God has done in my life. Looking at my past, and realizing where I am now....it’s all truly a blessing. Being a rookie on Tour isn’t always easy, in fact it’s a lot tougher than most people imagine. Waking up anywhere from 4:30am-6:30am every day of the week and working til sundown. The hardest thing is being away from home for so long...it’s been over five months since I’ve been home and I can’t explain how much I miss my family and friends.


But God has given me the opportunity to do greater things than I ever imagined. Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s all worth it in the end. Whenever times get hard, God reminds me of what I’m working for. There are millions of people who need help. People who are hungry, people who are sick, people who need a home. No matter how big of a problem I face, I know there is someone out there who is going through worse. I want to take all the opportunities I get to help and change lives. I’ve been given so much in my life to be where I am today and I know how much it means to be cared for by others.

Sometimes in life, it’s hard not to be selfish. We all work hard and want to keep what we’ve earned. But there are people out there who aren’t as fortunate and have to work extremely hard just to survive. There are people out there who don’t have access to the basic needs of life, who are dying every day.
So this year for my birthday I want to start something different. I don’t want to receive any gifts, but instead, I want to give to those who really need it. We’ve been blessed to be born in a country where we don’t have to worry about having enough food and clean water to survive each day. But there are millions of people who need OUR help. For my 20th birthday, I just want to ask all my family and friends to help me raise money to provide clean water for those in need. Below is a link to a campaign I simply created through mycharitywater.org where 100% of donations directly funds clean water projects in developing nations. Here is the link to donate: www.mycharitywater.org/RLBgolf Here is a video with more info about the cause: www.vimeo.com/charitywater/whywater
Thank you so much to all those who donate!!!
~ Rebecca

Learn more about Rebecca Lee-Bentham>>
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The copyrighted content contained on this blog reflects the sole opinion(s) of the author. Such content does not necessarily represent the LPGA's views, opinions, intentions, and/or strategies, and is intended for informational or amusement purposes only.

Kia Classic Pre-tournament notes and interviews

LPGA Tour - Wed, 21/03/2012 - 14:14
Kia Classic La Costa Resort and Spa Carlsbad, Calif. Pre-tournament notes and interviews March 20, 2012

Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 3

The LPGA Tour returns to La Costa Resort and Spa this week for the third-annual Kia Classic. Defending champion Sandra Gal will test her game on a new golf course after defeating Jiyai Shin by one stroke last season at Pacific Palms outside of Los Angeles. Gal, who fired rounds of 67-68-70-71, captured the victory with one of the season's most dramatic shots, a clutch wedge from 83 yards to three feet for a birdie and the victory. She went on to earn five additional top-10 finishes in 2011. The Kia Classic debuted at La Costa Resort and Spa in 2010, when sponsor exemption Hee Kyung Seo won the event as a member of the Korea LPGA (KLPGA). Seo went on to join the LPGA Tour in 2011, winning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors. In 2011, the tournament moved north on I-5 due to renovations at La Costa. The 2012 edition of the Kia Classic will be played on the South Course at La Costa Resort and Spa.

Major Focus: This week's Kia Classic is the lead-in for the first LPGA major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. And while everyone in the 144-player field is playing to win this week at La Costa, Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen acknowledged that her focus is already on getting her game in shape for Kraft.

“This week is all about trying to prepare yourself as good as possible so can you go into next week with lots of energy and kind of stress‑free,” Pettersen said.

“Preparing for next week, this is a great little track,” Pettersen said about the South Course at La Costa. “It's a good test off the tee and very small greens, so you've got to be nailing the irons to hit the greens…

Pettersen has one major title to her name, the 2007 McDonalds LPGA Championship, but she has had many close calls at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She has finished runner-up a total of three times at the event (2007, 2008, and 2010).

I've had so many good memories from Kraft,” Pettersen said. “The week is big enough as it is, and it kind of gets the most of you by Sunday.  But it's one of my favorite tournaments.  I think it's one of those courses that suits your eye, and I can't wait to go there.”

 

SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3

Q.  I know you've been working hard on your putting so far this year, and I know you've been working with Dave Stockton.  He's here with this week.  Any specific things that you're working on with him throughout the week? SUZANN PETTERSEN:  We're trying to work on one thing.  Just make it as simple as possible.  Putting should be the easiest thing in the bag to do.  On these greens, it's just trying to get putters that are not fluff because of all the poa annua.  It's pretty simple. Preparing for next week, this is a great little track.  It's a good test off the tee and very small greens, so you've got to be nailing the irons to hit the greens.

Q.  Next week is a big week with the first major of the year coming up.  Does your focus change a little bit when you play in a tournament the week before a major?  We know you've been close so many times at Kraft.  Are there any special feelings for you every time you go to that event? SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I've had so many good memories from Kraft.  I've been awfully close a few times.  You know, this week is all about trying to prepare yourself as good as possible so can you go

Gal talks defending her title this week

LPGA Tour - Tue, 20/03/2012 - 16:25
LPGA.com caught up with Sandra Gal for a quick Q&A. Gal talks defending her title this week and what she likes to do in San Diego.

LPGA: What are your thoughts on defending your title at another golf course?
Gal: I think it takes a bit of pressure of. The course is redesigned, so everyone will have to learn how to play it.

LPGA: What is the key to playing well at La Costa?
Gal: A couple of years ago, the key was to keep the drives in the fairway as the rou gh was tough to get out of and fliers wouldn’t stop on the tiny greens.

LPGA: How does it match with your game?
Gal: I’ve worked hard in the off-season to increase my fairway hits, so we will find out if the work paid off!

LPGA
: What are your favorite holes?
Gal: I don’t really have favorite holes, unless there is a spectacular view on a certain hole. I treat every hole the same.

LPGA: What are you looking forward to that week?
Gal: I look forward to the experience of defending my title and learning about the course changes. My family and some friends will be out watching as well, which I love.

LPGA: What are your favorite things to do while in San Diego?
Gal: I love the beach and taking walks.

Kia Classic Tournament Preview

LPGA Tour - Tue, 20/03/2012 - 14:16

The LPGA Tour returns to La Costa Resort and Spa this week for the third-annual Kia Classic.

Defending champion Sandra Gal will test her game on a new golf course after defeating Jiyai Shin by one stroke last season at Pacific Palms outside of Los Angeles. Gal, who fired rounds of 67-68-70-71, captured the victory with one of the season’s most dramatic shots, a clutch wedge from 83 yards to three feet for a birdie and the victory. She went on to earn five additional top 10 finishes in 2011.

Yani Tseng is in the field this week after earning her 14th LPGA career victory at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup on Sunday. She became the fastest to reach the $8 million mark in career earnings, taking 4 years, 1 month and 2 days to reach the mark and accomplishing it in 99 events. The previous record had been held by Lorena Ochoa, who reached the $8 million mark in 4 years, 4 months, 16 days. It took Ochoa 115 events to pass the mark.

Na Yeon Choi, Ai Miyazato and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu, each of whom finished in the top five last week,  are all hungry for a victory to kick-start their 2012 season. 

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Choi has recorded two second place finishes this season, finishing just one stroke off Angela Stanford’s pace at the HSBC Women’s Champions and behind Tseng at the Founders Cup.

Miyazato bumps up to Rolex Rankings No. 7 after her second place finish last weekend. She has also posted two second place finishes this season, both falling short to Tseng by one stroke. She has placed in the top 10 in three starts so far.

Ryu tops the Rolex Rookie of the Year charts with 198 points after a fourth place finish last weekend. She opened the 2012 season with a tie for second at the ISPS Handa Australian Open after a playoff with five others to fall just behind Jessica Korda. Ryu finished tied for 11th two weeks later at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.

The Kia Classic debuted at La Costa Resort and Spa in 2010, when sponsor exemption Hee Kyung Seo won the event as a member of the Korea LPGA (KLPGA). Seo went on to join the LPGA Tour in 2011, winning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2011, the tournament moved north on I-5 due to renovations at La Costa. The 2012 edition of the Kia Classic will be played on the South Course at La Costa Resort and Spa.

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