Lydia Ko

 



By Karen Harding

LYDIA KO

Lydia Ko is a record breaker. The first amateur to win twice on the LPGA Tour, the youngest winner in LPGA history, the youngest player, at 17, male or female, to reach number one in the world, she is also the youngest major winner in LPGA Tour history and the youngest winner of the Rookie of the Year award (2014). In 2016 alone, she shot a career-low round 62 twice, added four wins including a second major, the ANA Inspiration, and 10 additional top-10s including a runner-up at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and T3 at the U.S. Women’s Open. She was the silver medallist at the Rio Olympics. A great putter and tremendous scorer, Ko is the one to beat.

COUNTRY:                         New Zealand

DATE OF BIRTH:                April 24, 1997

WORLD RANKING:           1

2016 (LPGA):                     24starts, 24 cuts, 4 wins, 14 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US2,493,059 (2nd)

 

ARIYA JUTANUGARN

It is hard to adequately describe the brilliance of Ariya Jutanugarn’s 2016. Starting the year ranked 62, she finished as world number 2 after five wins, including the RICOH Women’s British Open, and 11 other top-10 finishes, three of which were in majors. She became the first Thai golfer, male or female, to own a major and the first player in LPGA history to have their first three career wins in succession. She is also only the second player to win the Rolex Player of the Year, Race to the CME Globe and LPGA Official Money title in one season. A birdie machine (469 in 2016) and ranked top-10 in seven significant scoring categories, look for an outstanding performance again.

COUNTRY:                         Thailand

DATE OF BIRTH:                November 23, 1995

WORLD RANKING:           2

2016 (LPGA):                     28starts, 27 cuts, 5 wins, 16 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US2,550,947 (1st)

 

BROOKE HENDERSON

The exceptional career of Brooke Henderson continued in 2016 when she birdied the first playoff hole against Lydia Ko to win the KPMG Women’s PGA, becoming the second youngest player in LPGA history, behind Ko, to win a major, the youngest to win that event and the first Canadian to win a major in 48 years. Henderson was also top-10 in two other majors, repeated her 2015 Cambia Portland Classic victory, recorded an astonishing 15 top-10s and finished third in the Rolex Player of the Year award behind Ariya Jutanugarn and Ko. A birdie machine, she reeled off 455 of them, second only to Jutanugarn.  A rare talent and looking to better her T9 at this event in 2016.

COUNTRY:                         Canada

DATE OF BIRTH:                September 10, 1997

WORLD RANKING:           9

2016 (LPGA):                     31starts, 30 cuts, 2 wins, 15 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US1,724,420 (3rd)

 

HA NA JANG

What a year 2016 was for Ha Na Jang. After an excellent 2015 LPGA rookie season, she started the year with two wins from her first five starts, the Coates Golf Championship and the HSBC Women’s Champions, later adding the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship. A week before her first win, she recorded the LPGA’s first ever ace on a par-4, at the Pure Silk Bahamas PGA Classic. Jang was also T5 at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She led the tour in rounds under par and was top-10 in other scoring categories. This girl can really play. With a T4 at this event last year, she is sure to perform well and spectators will be captivated by her outgoing personality. 

COUNTRY:                         Republic of Korea

DATE OF BIRTH:                May 2, 1992

WORLD RANKING:           6

2016 (LPGA):                     22 starts, 21 cuts, 3 wins, 8 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US1,383,640 (8th)

 

KARRIE WEBB

 

Beyond champion, beyond icon, beyond legend, there is Karrie Webb, Australia’s great golfer. It’s not just the numbers of her career but the manner of them and her personal qualities that set her apart. 41 LPGA wins, seven majors, leading current player on all-time win list, leading current player on career money list, the youngest player (in 2001) in LPGA history to achieve the LPGA career Grand Slam and first player (in 2002) to achieve the Super Career Grand Slam - five different majors, coming heartbreakingly close in 2014 to adding a sixth. 2005 LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer, Webb has a history of come-from-behind wins, including the 2014 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, her fifth national crown.

COUNTRY:                         Australia

DATE OF BIRTH:                December 21, 1974

WORLD RANKING:           62

2016 (LPGA):                     20starts, 15 cuts, 0 wins, 3 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US378,876 (52nd)

 

HARU NOMURA

Haru Nomura blossomed in 2016, securing her first LPGA title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the second Japanese winner after Chako Higuchi in 1974, and claiming the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic six events later. Her performance in majors was strong, finishing eighth at The Evian and top-20 in two others, and she was T4 at the Rio Olympics. Her scoring average improved by 1.26, taking her from 37th in 2015 to ninth in 2016. Most of that improvement was in birdies, finishing third in that category, up from 60th in 2015, and in putting which improved from 61st in 2015 to sixth in 2016.  A very consistent player who will make a stout defence of her title here.

COUNTRY:                         Japan

DATE OF BIRTH:                November 25, 1992

WORLD RANKING:           21

2016 (LPGA):                     28starts, 27 cuts, 2 wins, 6 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US1,228,319 (11th)

 

MICHELLE WIE

The journey of Michelle Wie has seen incredible highs and lows, yet throughout she has remained a crowd favourite. A phenom, Wie first competed in an LPGA event in 2002, aged 12, and played seven events as a non-member the following year. Much was expected of her but things did not go to plan. With enormous mental strength and her unique “table-top” putting stance, she roared back in 2014, winning two events including the U.S. Women’s Open, posting a further 11 top-10s, and finishing third on the money list. Plagued by injury and illness through 2015, Wie struggled in 2016 and is again on the comeback trail. A fashionista as well as superbly gifted player, Wie is too good to discount anywhere.

COUNTRY:                         USA

DATE OF BIRTH:                October 11, 1989

WORLD RANKING:           183

2016 (LPGA):                     25starts, 13 cuts, 0 wins, 1 top-10

2016 MONEY:                   $US76,109 (105th)

 

MINJEE LEE

Australia’s Minjee Lee is a bright star. After a stellar amateur career during which she was ranked #1 in the world, Lee produced a fine 2015 LPGA rookie season and in 2016 continued her rise. She claimed the LOTTE Championship and the Blue Bay LPGA, with a further six top-10s to round out a great year which included an ace on a par-4 at the Kia Classic, only the second in LPGA history, and a T6 at the Rio Olympics. Now Australia’s highest ranked player, Lee’s game stands up against any in the world. Ranked fourth in 2016 on birdies and eagles, she is blessed with a technically sound and fluid swing that is a joy to watch.

COUNTRY:                         Australia

DATE OF BIRTH:                May 27, 1996

WORLD RANKING:           17

2016 (LPGA):                     27 starts, 26 cuts, 2 wins, 8 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US1,213,902 (12th)

 

CHARLEY HULL

The prodigious Charley Hull won her first adult event at Turnberry, aged nine, and has been breaking records since. She was LET Rookie of the Year in 2013 after some spectacular results and won the LET Order of Merit in 2014. She missed just one cut in her 2015 LPGA rookie season and in 2016 recorded her maiden LPGA victory at the CME Group Tour Championship, firing a tournament record. She finished T2 at the ANA Inspiration, a major, and top-20 at two other majors. She was T4 at the 2016 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, T7 at the Rio Olympics, and improved her world ranking by more than 20 places. Fearless, naturally gifted and charismatic, Hull is one to watch.

COUNTRY:                         England

DATE OF BIRTH:                March 20, 1996

WORLD RANKING:           15

2016 (LPGA):                     22 starts, 19 cuts, 1 win, 5 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US1,114,360 (15th)

 

CARLOTA CIGANDA

After a promising amateur career Carlota Ciganda joined the LET and LPGA Tours in 2012, winning both the LET Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles. From 2013 she concentrated more on the LPGA Tour, improving steadily each year. 2016 proved her breakout year with two wins in a one-month span, the first at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship when she came from five strokes behind to defeat Alison Lee in a playoff, and her second, after finishing runner-up in 2015, at the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She had another five top-10s for a solid year.  She has a great team event record, representing Europe in Solheim Cup and Spain in the 2014-winning International Crown and the 2016 Olympics.

COUNTRY:                         Spain

DATE OF BIRTH:                June 1, 1990

WORLD RANKING:           20

2016 (LPGA):                     26 starts, 22 cuts, 2 wins, 7 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US1,116,289 (14th)

 

 MO MARTIN

COUNTRY:                         USA

DATE OF BIRTH:                October 8, 1982              

WORLD RANKING:           32          

2016 (LPGA):                     28 starts, 26 cuts, 0 wins, 4 top-10s         

2016 MONEY:                   $US732,914 (23rd)

 

JENNY SHIN

COUNTRY:                         Republic of Korea

DATE OF BIRTH:                October 7, 1992

WORLD RANKING:           38

2016 (LPGA):                     27 starts, 24 cuts, 1 win, 5 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US630,649 (27th)

 

MI HYANG LEE

COUNTRY:                         Republic of Korea

DATE OF BIRTH:                March 30, 1993

WORLD RANKING:           40

2016 (LPGA):                     27 starts, 23 cuts, 0 wins, 2 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US442, 976 (42nd)

 

KARINE ICHER

COUNTRY:                         France

DATE OF BIRTH:                January 26, 1979

WORLD RANKING:           46

2016 (LPGA):                     29 starts, 25 cuts, 0 wins, 5 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US628,968 (28th)

 

PORNANONG PHATLUM

COUNTRY:                         Thailand

DATE OF BIRTH:                December 4, 1989

WORLD RANKING:           44

2016 (LPGA):                     27 starts, 24 cuts, 0 wins, 5 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US617,761 (30th)

              

CHELLA CHOI

COUNTRY:                         Republic of Korea

DATE OF BIRTH:                August 25, 1990

WORLD RANKING:           52

2016 (LPGA):                     30 starts, 25 cuts, 0 wins, 5 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US604,684 (31st)

 

AZAHARA MUNOZ

COUNTRY:                         Spain    

DATE OF BIRTH: November 19, 1987       

WORLD RANKING:           51          

2016 (LPGA):                     27 starts, 25 cuts, 0 wins, 5 top-10s         

2016 MONEY:                   $US440,968 (43rd)

 

JODI EWART SHADOFF

COUNTRY:                         England                             

DATE OF BIRTH:                January 7, 1988

WORLD RANKING:           55          

2016 (LPGA):                     26 starts, 25 cuts, 0 wins, 3 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US593,328 (32nd)

 

CAROLINE MASSON

COUNTRY:                         Germany

DATE OF BIRTH:                May 14, 1989

WORLD RANKING:           53

2016 (LPGA):                     30 starts, 23 cuts, 1 win, 4 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US635,223 (26th)

 

CATRIONA MATTHEW

COUNTRY:                         Scotland

DATE OF BIRTH:                August 25, 1969              

WORLD RANKING:           63          

2016 (LPGA):                     23 starts, 21 cuts, 0 wins, 2 top-10s         

2016 MONEY:                   $US414, 683 (44th)

 

SU OH

COUNTRY:                         Australia

DATE OF BIRTH:                May 23, 1996

WORLD RANKING:           71

2016 (LPGA):                     22 starts, 17 cuts, 0 wins, 2 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US383,623 (50th)

 

DANIELLE KANG

COUNTRY:                         Republic of Korea

DATE OF BIRTH:                April 28, 1988

WORLD RANKING:           67

2016 (LPGA):                     27 starts, 23 cuts, 0 wins, 3 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US505,316 (36th)

 

ANGELA STANFORD

COUNTRY:                         USA      

DATE OF BIRTH:                November 18, 1977       

WORLD RANKING:           59

2016 (LPGA):                     26 starts, 19 cuts, 0 wins, 4 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US488,588 (37th)

 

MORIYA JUTANUGARN

COUNTRY:                         Thailand             

DATE OF BIRTH:                July 28, 1994     

WORLD RANKING:           84          

2016 (LPGA):                     29 starts, 24 cuts, 0 wins, 2 top-10s         

2016 MONEY:                   $US446,948 (40th)

 

SARAH JANE SMITH

COUNTRY:                         Australia             

DATE OF BIRTH:                July 8, 1984       

WORLD RANKING:           114       

2016 (LPGA):                     28 starts, 24 cuts, 0 wins, 1 top-10

2016 MONEY:                   $US340, 318 (56th)

 

LAURA DAVIES

COUNTRY:                         England              

DATE OF BIRTH:                October5, 1963

WORLD RANKING:           366

2016 (LPGA):                     15 starts, 4 cuts, 0 wins, 0 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US19,949 (151st)

 

YANI TSENG

COUNTRY:                         Chinese Taipei  

DATE OF BIRTH:                January 23, 1989             

WORLD RANKING:           116       

2016 (LPGA):                     25 starts, 13 cuts, 0 wins, 0 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US70, 910 (109th)

 

XI YU LIN   

COUNTRY:                         China   

DATE OF BIRTH:                February 25, 1996

WORLD RANKING:           75

2016 (LPGA):                     25 starts, 17 cuts, 0 wins, 2 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                   $US307,078 (61st)

 

NELLY KORDA

COUNTRY:                           USA

DATE OF BIRTH:                July 18, 1998

WORLD RANKING:           249

2016 (SYM):                        19 starts, 15 cuts, 1 win, 7 top-10s

2016 MONEY:                     US$70,129 (9th)