Several LPGA-season honors still up for grabs
NAPLES, Fla. Inbee Park might have the Rolex Player of the Year locked up, and deservedly so, but there are several other big titles still up for grabs as the season winds down this week in south Florida.
Caroline Masson leads the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race by 11 points over Moriya Jutanugarn. And if Masson pulls it off this week at Tiburon Golf Club, it will be with a broken thumb.
PHOTOS: CME Group Titleholders (Wednesday)
View images of Lydia Ko and others on Wednesday of the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Earlier this month in Japan, Masson fractured her right thumb while playing ping pong with her caddie, Jason McDede on Tuesday before the tournament started. She won the match and went on to finish tied for 60th in the golf tournanment.
“I float (the thumb) on top,” said Masson of how she competes with a brace. “If the divots get too deep ... glad they don’t have rough here.”
Japan’s Ayako Uehara would have to win this week to have a chance at the title. She currently trails Masson by 90 points.
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VARE RACE: Stacy Lewis and Suzann Pettersen are battling for their first Vare Trophy award. Lewis leads Pettersen by the slimmest of margins, 0.104, while last year’s winner, Inbee Park, trails Lewis by 0.417.
“My goal is to be in the last group on Sunday, then I feel like I have some kind of an overview of what’s going on,” said Pettersen.
Lewis would become the first American to win the award since Beth Daniel in 1994.
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MONEY MATTERS: Only two players have crossed the $2 million mark this season – Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen – but with a $700,000 first-place prize, Stacy Lewis is still very much in the mix this week.
Park leads the race with $2,393,513 and is playing for her second consecutive money title. Pettersen trails by $109,187 while Lewis would need to win to soar to the top. Lewis finished second last week to Lexi Thompson in Mexico. Betsy King was the last American to win the money title in 1993.
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MIKES, NOT CLUBS: Karen Stupples and Paige Mackenzie are on hand this week not as players, but as Golf Channel commentators. Stupples, the 2004 Women’s British Open champion, put away her clubs after 15 years on the LPGA. The engaging Englishwoman said she simply lost her desire to compete.
Mackenzie, a seven-year tour veteran, will continue to play the LPGA full-time while also working as a co-host of Golf Channel’s Morning Drive.
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster will work as a course reporter at five LPGA tournaments next season, while continuing to compete on tour. Inkster is in this week’s CME field, paired with Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr in the first round.