American LPGA rookies face a daunting challenge competing for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honor with so many polished and proven South Korean rookies in the ranks, but the Americans have made their presence felt this month.
For the second consecutive event, an American rookie was in the hunt down the stretch.
Two weeks after Alison Lee finished third at the Kingsmill Championship, Kelly Shon tied for third at the ShopRite Classic.
Shon was within a shot of the lead on the back nine Sunday at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club before fading to finish behind winner Anna Nordqvist and runner-up Christel Boeljon. Shon’s T-3 was her best finish in an LPGA event. She tied for 11th in her LPGA rookie debut in the season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.
Shon, the first player from Princeton to earn LPGA membership, played in the final group with Nordqvist and Morgan Pressel.
“All in all, pretty happy with the way I handled myself,” Shon said. “Playing with Anna, the champion, and then Morgan, just watching these guys play and how they handle themselves in the final three, I learned a lot today.”
Shon learned what Sunday nerves are like when a player’s in contention.
“I was nervous,” Shon said. “I don't think my hands have ever shaken that much, on the first hole, thinking about that. So, got it out of the way, and hopefully I can get better.”
With a birdie at the 14th hole, Shon moved within one shot of Nordqvist before stumbling with a double bogey at the 15th and bogey at the 16th. She closed with a birdie to grab a share of third with Pressel.
Shon moves to ninth in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year points list with 138 points. She claimed 75 points with Sunday’s finish. Sei Young Kim, who has won twice this year, leads with 689 points. Hyo Joo Kim is second with 635 points. Alison Lee is sixth with 256.