Inbee Park is authoring one of the best seasons ever on the LPGA … and she’s still not a lock for Player of the Year honors.
Such is the state of the LPGA’s top tier, which is now shared by world No. 1 Park, red-hot Suzann Pettersen and perennial contender Stacy Lewis. That trio has combined to win more than half of the events played this season (13 of 25).
Don’t forget, Park headed to St. Andrews with a chance to become the first player, male or female, to win the first four majors in a season. Now, it looks like that pressure-packed week was just the start of a months-long slump, as she’s finished inside the top 10 in only one of her last eight starts.
Hot on her spikes – in the Rolex Rankings, on the money list and in the Player of the Year race – is Pettersen, who won again in Taiwan on Sunday and hasn’t finished worse than seventh since late June. In that span, she also has three victories, including the Evian Championship, the year’s fifth major.
“Being No. 2 is pretty much the first loser, and I’ve been No. 2 behind four great No. 1s,” Pettersen said, referring to Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Yani Tseng and Park.
Lewis, meanwhile, has been one of the steadiest players in golf, with a whopping 16 top 10s in 23 starts. With three victories and the tour’s best scoring average (69.54), Lewis is a solid third contender for top honors.
Unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA uses a points system to determine its Player of the Year. Here is how the race looks with three events remaining:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS:
Park: 290 points
Pettersen: 252 points
Lewis: 200 points
OTHER FINISHES OUTSIDE TOP 25:
MAJOR FINISHES (in order):
Pettersen: T3; T3; MC; T4; 1st
Park: 1st; 1st; 1st; T42; T67
Lewis: T32; T28; T42; 1st; T6