Lydia Ko is my Player of the Year – Players to watch at the Pelican Championship
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Nov. 10, 2022
Happy Golf Thursday everybody! Before we dive into today’s topic, PLEASE go back and read yesterday’s post from our founder Howard Megdal if you have not already (if you have, share it). In the time of Gen-Z displaying every crevice of their lives on social media, to cancel culture, and now an uptick in antisemitic rhetoric, Howard beautifully reports on how a young person can make a mistake and learn from it in a big way.
With just two events left on the LPGA 2022 schedule, the battle for Rolex Player of the Year is still up in the air.
Unlike the PGA Tour, where players vote on who wins the title, the LPGA dishes the award out on a points system. Players are awarded points for top-10 finishes, with a victory earning 30 points and a 10th-place getting one point. Points are doubled at the majors.
With 13 top-10 finishes, and two wins this year, Lydia Ko currently holds the top spot, just one point over two-time major winner this season, Minjee Lee.
Ko is also leading the tour in the Race to the CME Globe.
Some make the argument that because Ko hasn’t won a major this season, her bid for POTY isn’t as valid as Minjee Lee’s or Brooke Henderson’s. Which is why the point system makes total sense. Winning on the LPGA is more difficult now than it has ever been. I think the days of seeing long stretches of dominant players like Annika and Lorena are over. Any player on any given week can pull out a win. Just this year we have seen 11 first-time winners. It’s truly anyone’s game.
I’m not alone in my thinking either. After winning the BMW Championship, Ko had this to say: “I think people underestimate what the level of the LPGA is and what the level of women’s golf is right now. I think this is probably one of my best seasons or the best season I’ve had.”
Just having a hot streak isn’t enough. A player of the YEAR should account for the whole season. And Ko has been consistent since January.
Something about Lydia Ko in 2022 feels like 2015/2016 Lydia Ko…but better. She’s as calm, cool, and collected as ever but the maturity she holds now puts her lightyears ahead of where she was seven years ago.
Her stats speak for themselves.
Lydia’s correct when she said that this maybe her best season yet. Her stats are beyond impressive, but what sticks out to me is her scoring average which sits at 69.051. That’s lower than both her 2015 and 2016 scoring averages, which were 69.44 and 69.6.
Her ability to go low, combined with her experience in winning situations is why I think she will be successful over these next two events, securing POTY and the CME Globe.
Minjee Lee isn’t in the field this week at the Pelican Championship (in its condensed format due to weather) and neither is world No.1 Atthaya Thitikul giving Ko the perfect opportunity to widen the gap.
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This week in women’s golf
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Epson Tour News
It was Signing Day for a lot of young golfers!!!!
College golf doesn’t always get the love it deserves until April/May. I found a new outlet that I’ll be adding to my rotation that I wanted to share: AmateurGolf. Here you will find just about everything happening in the world of amateur golf, from tournaments, rankings, USGA rule changes, and a lot more.
Five at The IX: Players to watch at the Pelican Championship
In its third year on the LPGA schedule, The Pelican Championship in Belleair, Florida has become a hot commodity for players. The full leaderboard can be found here, but here are some standouts to pay attention to this weekend.
As the front runner for POTY and Race to the CME Globe, Ko is on everyone’s watch list. Since the summer, she has hit her stride. Ko has carded 10 top-10 finishes – nine of which were in the top five – in her last 12 starts.
I predict Lydia to be in contention this week.
The defending champ hasn’t experienced a lot of success this season. Korda has been recovering from her blot clot which I’m sure has impacted her game mentally and physically.
She had a dramatic finish last year, with a triple-bogey on the 17th hole, to end up winning in a playoff over Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim.
She’s chasing her first win of the season, after dropping from world No.1 at the beginning of the year to No.4.
The most recent winner on the tour is in the field this week, and is running with the momentum despite the jet-lag!
“A lot of the girls asked me already, are you still going to play? I said, yeah, definitely, because I feel like I need to run with the momentum,” Dryburgh said on Wednesday. “Obviously still a little bit tired from the jet lag. Played nine holes yesterday and played in the pro-am today. Good to see the golf course… fresh course for us. But looking forward to it and if it’s windy, I’m sure I can deal with that hopefully being from Scotland.”
Henderson is the closest player to Ko in the POTY battle and definitely someone to pay attention to. Also…it’s Brooke. She’s a fan-favorite!
Back from having baby no.2, Lincicome is making her first debut since KMPG in June. We’re happy to see her in the field and ready to play after such a brief time away!
Honorable Mention: Andrea Lee
Andrea Lee has had a great year. After getting her first win in Portland, she’s had two more top-10 finishes in just three starts. I think she’ll be able to make some noise this week in Florida.
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