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2018 LPGA Year in Review


72 replies to this topic

#1 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 10:50 AM

Has it been a year already? 32 events, 26 different winners from 10 different countries, and 9 first time winners. The five majors all had exciting finishes.

Thought on the players, tournaments, and/or tour?

Edited by Argonne69, 20 November 2018 - 10:51 AM.


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#2 Stooch

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:00 AM

Great year overall, but I still wanna see a Match Play event like the WGC event in Texas on the PGA be part of the schedule :)

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#3 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:01 AM

No doubt Ariya had a fantastic season, winning practically every award except rookie of the year. Three wins, 8 top 3's, 17 top 10's, and $2.7 million in earnings. She started slow, but finished strong with 8 top 10's in her final 10 event. If she ever becomes comfortable with a driver, watch out. She had 470 birdies this season, 56 more than Minjee in 2nd place, and a record as far as I can tell. She didn't miss a cut all year.

Ariya takes some flack for her pre-shot "smile", but there's no doubt that she has learned to manage her emotions on the course. I really believe that her close call at the USWO, where she almost threw away the win, helped her realize that she can pretty much win with any game.

Grade: A+.

Edited by Argonne69, 20 November 2018 - 11:10 AM.


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#4 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:09 AM

Minjee had a great season, but I have a feeling she felt she left a lot on the table. She was in the hunt so many times, and yet she only managed a single win on tour, along with an LET win early in the season. She had 13 top 10's, and picked up $1.55 million in earnings. Similar to a number of other players, she needs to figure out how to bring the Sunday scores down when she's in contention. She had final round scores of 78, 77, and 75 when starting on the first page of the leaderboard.

She finished the year tied for 1st in ballstriking, so her putter seems to be the weak link at this point.

Grade: A.

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#5 eric13

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:17 AM

Jin-Young Ko certainly had an impressive first year on the tour


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#6 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:18 AM

Sung Hyun Park is a bit of an enigma. When her game is on, she's scary good. When she's off, she looks like a middle of the pack player. She collected 3 wins, and 7 top 10's this year, earning $1.49 million. However, in the events she didn't win she only finished in the top 5 once. She missed 7 cuts this year.

Like Minjee, she's an excellent ballstriker, finishing 5th, which points to the putter. She also seems to struggle in windy conditions, which seemed to be more prevalent this year. My suggestion would be to hook up with Ariya's mental coach. She seems to get lost out there when her game's a little off.

Grade: A-.

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#7 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:27 AM

Brooke had a wonderful season, although she did seem to struggle down the stretch. She had two wins, including the impressive win in front of her home country fans at the Canadian Women's Open, and 11 top 10's. She missed 3 cuts in 28 events. However, only two top tens came after her win in Regina. With 7 wins in 4 seasons, she's definitely doing something right.

She's tied for #1 in ballstriking with Minjee, so once again her putter seems to let her down. Her scrambling is a bit suspect at times, too. She was ranked 4th in scoring average, and 3rd in birdies. To me that says too many bogies.

Grade: A.

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#8 Stooch

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:31 AM

As someone who follows Brooke closely while she's 3rd in Birdies, she's also probably 3rd in Bogies lol

Edited by Stooch, 20 November 2018 - 11:32 AM.


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#9 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:36 AM

If the LPGA had a come back player of the year award, it would have to go to Nasa without a doubt. After a poor rookie season in 2017 where she earned a whopping $38k, she lit it up this year with 2 wins, including an impressive win in front of the home country fans, 11 top 10's, and $1.45 million. How's that for a bounce back? Lol. She started the season slow with 2 missed cuts and no top 10's in her first 7 events, but then put up six top 10's in the next seven events, including a win and a pair of 2Ts.

She finished the season #29 in ballstriking, and 10th in birdies. Her putter was the strongest part of her game this season, as she finished #4 in putting average, and #2 in putts per GIR.

Grade: A-.

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#10 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 11:49 AM

So Yeon had an excellent year, but it came up a little short by her normally high standards. She had a nice win in Grand Rapids in June, but only managed 7 top 10's for the season, the first time she hasn't reached ten top 10's in her 7 years on the LPGA. She still managed to pick up $1.4 million dollars this season, and with her 3T finish at the CME passed the $10 million career earnings mark. Her leadership at the International Crown was the highlight of the year.

So Yeon finished 2017 as the #1 ballstriker, but fell to 11T this season. Her driver seems to have developed a hiccup, and she dropped from #4 to #23 in total driving. I expect her to bounce back next season.

Grade: A-.


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#11 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:03 PM

Similar to Sung Hyun, Sei Young can be hot or cold. Her record setting win in Green Bay was impressive as heck. What a performance. She had 9 top 10's, 7 top 5's in the season, and 3 missed cuts. After missing the cut in Portland, she finished strong with 4 top 10's in 7 events.

Sei Young doesn't appear to blow up on Sunday when she's in contention, but she doesn't seem to put up the crazy low rounds like she does in the first three. She finished the season 33rd in total driving, 20th in ballstriking, and 4th in birdies. She's 52nd in putting average. That leads me to believe that takes advantage of the par 5's, but struggles on the par 4's.

Grade: B+.

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#12 Dpavs

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:09 PM

I kept feeling like there were several Americans that were on the verge of breaking out this year but it never really came to fruition. Maybe next year. Given all the first time winners, one thing that is obvious is that the influx of all the new talent over the past several years is rearing it's head. I can only expect this to continue over the next several years.

My only other thought is that Jessica owes Nelly a new purse!

Edited by Dpavs, 20 November 2018 - 12:10 PM.


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#13 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:11 PM

Carlota certainly has the talent to win more often, but has a mental hurdle on Sundays. She had 9 top 10's this year, including four in her last four events, and finished 8th on the money list. She missed 3 cuts, but only one since April.

She finished 20/30 in ballstriking and total driving, and 5th in birdies. Similar to Sei Young, she uses her length to take advantage of the par 5's, but has a few too many bogies on the other holes. She did manage to put up some really low numbers on Sunday to come from way behind, so now she needs to figure out how to do that on Sunday when in contention.

Grade: B.

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#14 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:18 PM

View PostDpavs, on 20 November 2018 - 12:09 PM, said:

I kept feeling like there were several Americans that were on the verge of breaking out this year but it never really came to fruition. Maybe next year. Given all the first time winners, one thing that is obvious is that the influx of all the new talent over the past several years is rearing it's head. I can only expect this to continue over the next several years.

My only other thought is that Jessica owes Nelly a new purse!

Well, there were nine American winners this year, including 3 first timers. However, Annie didn't really factor in most of the year. Nelly and Marina had very good seasons, but tended to struggle on Sunday. Amy, Angel, Jennifer, and Megan had their moments, and Danielle finished the year strong. Jessica shined early, but faded.

I think 2019 is going to be a better season.

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#15 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:26 PM

Definitely a down and up season for Lexi. Take away the tour final, and it looked rather bleak compared to 2017. She did manage 7 top 10's, but only one since July, and two missed cuts at the CPO and Evian.

She was 4th in scoring average, but an incredible 52nd in birdies. Given that she finished a respectable 19th in ballstriking, and 2nd in greens in regulation, the finger clearly points to the putter. On top of that we're well aware of the mental struggles she had this season. I believe a balky putter can do that to a top player.

I really believe that the win at the tour championship, along with her old putter, will give her a big boost going into next season.

Grade: B+.


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#16 0351Duffer

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:35 PM

First, I'd rather watch the LPGA over PGA golf. The game is more relatable to me (and my wife). Overall it was an exciting year. SHP had a clutch performance this summer but remains an enigma in terms of consistency. Ariya had the best year, but despite liking her... I find myself routing against her most of the time. Minjee, was probably most improved and if she can get a little better at putting...she will see more wins in 2019. As a Lexi fan, it was great to see her end the season that way. Nice to see the variety of winners this year including Moriya, Gabbi, Marina, Nelly etc. That bodes well for the LPGA.

Wie got back in the winners circle, and Danielle Kang played more like the player she should be over the later part of the season. Plus, she's a firebrand to watch on the golf course, which always equals fun. Honorable mention goes to Paula Creamer. I hope she gets fully back to playing and being competative over 2019 and 2020.

As for young players, JYK impressed me and on the American side, I think Emma Talley has the game and the personality to be someone to watch over the next couple of seasons.I'm also looking forward to seeing Gerina Piller back out there in 2019 as well.

Although I'd like better TV coverage, I think 2018 was a strong season for the ladies tour.

Overall: A-

Edited by 0351Duffer, 20 November 2018 - 12:40 PM.


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#17 WestTex

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 01:20 PM

First tour experience for WestTex and WestTexWife at the USWO:  A+  Although it was hot as bejeesus and a little unorganizaed we quickly learned how to roll.  Ariya put on a heck of a show with a thrilling final round playoff with Hyo Joo Kim.

Variety:  A+   As mentioned earlier the amount of different winners is something I enjoyed immensely.  I know some prefer a dominant force, but can you not argue you still have one in the Thai Tiger (Trademark Pending...)?

American performance:  A   With one Major winner and a number of good performances and 1st place finishes, I think the Yanks held their own.  Ditto to the Brits.

Korean dominance:  A   I still think they're the most talented group per capita.

Argonne:  A+   For always getting things going every week with the threads and providing talking points.

Everyone else in the forums:  A  For contributing to great discussions and providing tons of insight.  Sincerely, thank you all.

Brooke:  A   For turning me into a fan by simply being cool as heck and approachable.  Her sister gets an A+ for giving us an autograph and not getting killed by a glancing club off Brooke's bag in a certain incident.

Danielle Kang:   A+/B+   The A+ is for trying to get Ollie to cut his ridiculous hair, and because she reminds me of me on the course when she's angry - which for me is often, her not as often.  The B+ is for her actual golfing.

Ryann O'Toole:   B+   For coming pretty darn close this year and still finishing pretty high at the end of the season.  She's also easy to talk to even though she knew at the time we had NFC who she was.  My bad Ryann, we've fixed that!

In Gee Chun:  B   YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID.   I'm kidding, I give her the grade because she toyed with me more this year than an 80's movie cheerleader teases a pimply-faced Star Trek nerd in the height of Alpha Male jockdom.  Bumping up her grade after a very difficult half of the year is learning she was really bothered by all the vitriole spewed by her Korean fans about her HAIR and her performance.  FFS, her hair bothered them.  But her IC and KEB results were a joy to watch.  She made me tear up a little when I saw her post-tournament interview, and that's not easy to do.  People's tears usually provide me sustenance.  Well played In Gee, well played...

Flying Dumbos:  C-  Overall, you turned on Dumbo, and that's not cool at all.  Sure, I met a few of you at the USWO and you bumped up the score, but to tear down your idol that much irks me.

Attack Girls:  A   You make liking a lady dressed as a boy really fun and normal, which are words I never thought I'd hear anyone, let alone myself, say.

Ayako:  A+  Because you're awesome and seemed genuinely excited to meet us and give an autograph, even though 50% of the fans reading this are now googling "Ayako LPGA" to see who the F you are.  And because even though you had a very forgettable year for 90% of fans, you still managed to pull in over $300k on a sport I PAY to play.  Oh, the irony and humiliation in that stat.

Lyds Ko:  A+  Because you're a genuine person who seems to really have fun no matter what and became my wife's #1 player.  Also a great resurrgence this year and putting on a short game display over the year.

Ok I'm done, I could keep going but by the time I'm done the 2019 season will have started.  Really looking forward to next year.

Edited by WestTex, 20 November 2018 - 01:20 PM.


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#18 ChronicSlicer

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 01:53 PM

I enjoyed the season,as I always do.
My positives would be seeing some newer faces out there who show signs of being players. I was glad to see Danielle Kang back up her winning a major last year with another win, 8 top 10`s 6 of those were actually top 5`s.

Good to see Lexi end on a positive note. Nice seeing a Brit win the British Open for once.

On a not so positive side. I hate the fact Pernilla Lindberg won a major, then went on to manage only 3 top 25`s. It makes me ill. http://www.lpga.com/...g/88213/results.

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#19 ChronicSlicer

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:01 PM

View PostWestTex, on 20 November 2018 - 01:20 PM, said:



Attack Girls:  A   You make liking a lady dressed as a boy really fun and normal, which are words I never thought I'd hear anyone, let alone myself, say.


I don`t want to offend any of Sung Hyun`s fan on here, but this was funny. :taunt:

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#20 Stooch

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:08 PM

Quote

Brooke:  A   For turning me into a fan by simply being cool as heck and approachable.  Her sister gets an A+ for giving us an autograph and not getting killed by a glancing club off Brooke's bag in a certain incident.

But to be fair, the yardage was right on the approach shots for the rest of the holes that day :taunt:

Edited by Stooch, 20 November 2018 - 02:10 PM.


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#21 4waymiss

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:29 PM

Posted Image

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#22 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:37 PM

Jin Young Ko. Where have we seen this game before? In Gee's rookie year of 2016? Jin Young finished her rookie season with 1 win, 13 top 10's, one missed cut in 25 starts, and rookie of the year honors. In Gee finished 2016 with 1 win, 11 top 10's, and one missed cut in 19 starts (after suffering injury at the airport in Singapore), and rookie of the year honors. Jin Young started the season with 3 top 10's. In Gee started 2016 with four top 3's.

It's obvious that Jin Young is very talented, and having familiarized herself with the courses, she should have a great sophomore season. Like In Gee, though, I think her putter is likely to be the biggest factor in her success. If one hits 3/4's of GIRs, one must convert the birdie opportunities. She ranked 91st in putting average this season, and that needs to improve.

Grade: A-.

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#23 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:50 PM

Danielle Kang gets a score of A+ for the simple fact that she was smart enough to dump Leadbetter as her coach. After finally winning in 2017, and thinking that good things were ahead, she went back into a funk. She started the season well enough, with two top 5's in the first 3 events. She then went 51T, cut, cut, 55T, and 53T before cracking the top 20. A solid 4th at the USWO was followed by a WD, and then six missed cuts in eight tournaments. Oy veh. After the Evian she changed direction, and coaches, and finished strong with a win and two top 10's in 6 events. She finished the year 16th in total driving, but 26th in ballstriking. 'Gotta hit more greens.

I still believe her best is yet to come, and that we've seen some signs that she can compete on a weekly basis.

Grade: B (Generous).

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#24 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:03 PM

Will we ever see the dominant Lydia of "old"? She definitely got back on track this season, but the competition seems much stiffer. It was great to see her back in the winner's circle, and 10 top 10's for a player ranked 151st in total driving points directly to the excellence of her short game. She has the highest birdie average of any short hitter.

Lydia's on course demeanor continues to put a smile on my face. She's bubbly even when her game has headed south. I wish more players took the same path.

Her driving distance notched up 2 yards this year, but it's still down 4 yds vs. 2015. I don't think she'll ever be a long hitter, but adding a few yards off the tee sure would hurt. However, it can't come at the expense of time spent on her short game, which keeps her in the conversation.

Grade: B.

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#25 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:11 PM

Definitely a breakout sophomore season for Nelly. She grabbed her first win, notched 7 top 10's, including two in the last three events, and doubled her earning vs. 2017. She had her share of up and downs with four missed cuts early in the season, and 7 finishes outside the top 25.

She finished the year 13th in ballstriking, and 10th in total driving. However, she was 37th in putting average. I expect to see more improvement next year, including double digit top 10's.

Grade: B.


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#26 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:19 PM

It was nice to see Moriya grab her first win. She added 8 top 10's, and earned over $1 million. She has an all-around balanced game, and now that she's figured out how to close out a tournament, I think she's going to win a few more.

It does appear that she was injured in the latter half of the season. After finishing 11T at the KPMG, she managed no better that 20T in the next 9 events before getting a top 10 at the Blue Bay.

Grade: B-.

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#27 WestTex

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:24 PM

View PostChronicSlicer, on 20 November 2018 - 02:01 PM, said:

View PostWestTex, on 20 November 2018 - 01:20 PM, said:

Attack Girls:  A   You make liking a lady dressed as a boy really fun and normal, which are words I never thought I'd hear anyone, let alone myself, say.


I don`t want to offend any of Sung Hyun`s fan on here, but this was funny. :taunt:

Lol, oh no, no offense meant at all.  Love me some SHP.  I read an article where Americans were trying to understand her rock star status, and it was explained specifically looking like a boy was part of the charm.  In SHP's defence, I could never wear long hair either in the heat, and I actually like her style as well.

Side bar, played in a tournament and hung out with some American Attack Girls (Korean ex-pats) and they were asking us white folk what we thought of her.  I basically said I love that her style is quirky, get that she's quiet and stoic, but would still murder to have a tenth 100th of her talent chance to clean her clubs, no pun intended.

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#28 OffTheDole

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:30 PM

The highlights of the season for me were:
  • Jessica Korda's return from major face surgery to a win in Thailand
  • Lydia Ko's amazing win -- with an eagle in a playoff -- shortly after her former coach showed a total lack of class and professionalism.
  • Moriya Jutanugarn's first victory (and Ariya's reaction!)
  • Nelly Korda's first win at the Swinging Skirts
  • Sung Hyun Park continuing to have virtuoso performances, like her win at the PGA
  • Brooke Henderson winning her country's tournament
  • Sei Young Kim's amazing 31-under victory at Thornberry Creek
  • Gaby Lopez being the first woman from her country to win on tour since the great Lorena Ochoa
  • Angel Yin starting to make her way up the CME standings, turning in a 4th place at the PGA and 2nd at the CP Open
  • Danielle Kang coming through with another win
Not many lowlights for the season IMO, though:
  • Lizette Salas broke my heart with that missed three-footer putt on the 72nd hole to win the Indy Women in Tech (ultimately losing in a playoff to S.H. Park)
  • Lexi Thompson's strange disappearance from the tour
  • Michelle Wie's continued injury troubles, return with a Steve Stricker-like no-wrist-hinge swing, and then shutting it down for more surgery
All in all, it was a great season and the tour should be proud of its efforts to improve the product and get more money into the game.

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#29 OffTheDole

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:37 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 20 November 2018 - 02:50 PM, said:

Danielle Kang gets a score of A+ for the simple fact that she was smart enough to dump Leadbetter as her coach.

Amen to that. I'm surprised anyone on the LPGA Tour works with him after he showed how unprofessional he can be.

Going with Butch Harmon is a brilliant move. From everything I've read and heard about Butch is that he doesn't make major changes to his players' swings and tends to tell them to get out of their own way, which seems to work very well.

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#30 Argonne69

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:42 PM

With only 13 events on her schedule, Inbee still managed a win, 6 top 10's, and nearly $1 million earned. She has 19 career victories, and I have to assume she'd love to grab her 20th. I believe she mentioned wanting to make the 2020 Olympics. If she stays in the Top 15 in the World (currently 4th), she'll make it.

Grade: Incomplete.

Edited by Argonne69, 20 November 2018 - 04:58 PM.


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