Rickie Fowler: What’s In The Bag?
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Every year, it seems like the talent pool for the LPGA tour is getting deeper and deeper.
From teen phenoms and major winners to those still trying to make a name for themselves, here are 7 of the most promising young LPGA stars to keep an eye on in 2020.
Nelly Korda made her LPGA Tour debut in 2017 at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic where she tied for 5th with Pornanong Phatlum. At just 21 years of age, this young American is following in the footsteps of her sister, Jessica Korda – a 9-year veteran on the LPGA Tour.
2019 was a breakout year for Nelly with two wins and a total of 12 top-10 finishes. After securing the 5th spot on the 2019 LPGA Tour money list with a total of $1,665,546, look for her stellar performance to continue heading into the 2020 season.
A T-6 finish at the 2019 LPGA Q-series was enough to secure a spot on Tour for this young Swiss golfer. A member of the Stanford golf team, Valenzuela opted for immediate playing privileges for the 2020 LPGA season rather than completing her final semester at the school.
Early success is a common pattern that can be observed throughout Valenzuela’s career. Though only 22 years of age, she has already had the opportunity to play for Switzerland in the 2016 Olympic games and made the cut at the 2016 U.S Women’s Open.
She also played and made the cut at both the Evian Championship and the ANA Inspirational earlier this year.
Expect this great play to continue as she becomes even more comfortable playing on tour in 2020.
20-year-old Muni He is yet another exceptionally talented young player who was able to secure her 2020 tour card by playing solid golf at the 2019 LPGA Q-Series. Muni shot 21-under to finish 3 clear of the entire field and win this year’s qualifying event.
However, 2020 won’t be Muni’s first taste of life on the LPGA Tour. She actually earned her card for the 2019 season by a way of a 27th-place finish at Q-School last year. Muni earned a total of $33,315 over the course of 19 professional events in 2019.
As her experience and confidence on tour continue to blossom, watch for her to climb up the LPGA player rankings.
This year, Lee was one of the few LPGA players to see immediate success in her rookie season on tour.
At just 23, Lee was able to capture the title of 2019 US Women’s Open Champion at Charleston Country Club, South Carolina. Precise driving and a solid short game allowed her to fight back a talented field that including Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and other LPGA household names.
With a major already in the bag and the prestigious Loise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year trophy sitting comfortably in her home, it’s no secret that Jeongeun Lee has the skill set required to thrive on tour.
You can bet her phenomenal play will continue as the 2020 LPGA Tour season gets underway.
Another outstanding LPGA rookie from the class of 2019, Maria Fassi, has all the attributes needed to become a force to be reckoned with in the 2020 LPGA season.
In 2019, she competed in 11 events that netted her a total of $129,164. Her largest payout of the season was courtesy of the U.S Women’s Open, where she shared 12th spot with Gina Kim, Park Sung-hyun, and Minjee Lee.
Earlier in the year, she also racked up an impressive 2nd place performance at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Tournament.
A combination of experiencing early success in a major and the confidence that comes with knowing she can compete with the best golfers in the world make her another young player to key an eye on in 2020.
After winning the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Kupcho leveraged her momentum to compete in 19 LPGA tour events, including the 2019 US Women’s Open and the Evian Championship where she notched a 2nd place finish.
As a rookie on tour, she managed to bring in over half a million dollars in earnings, putting her in 39th spot on the LPGA money list.
Jennifer Kupcho is no stranger to success. She was ranked the top amateur golfer in the world for a total of 34 weeks during her tenure at Wake Forest University. This early success bodes well for her in 2020 – her first year playing a full schedule on the LPGA Tour.
Noh was another standout from this year’s LPGA Q-series tournament that took place at Pinehurst in late October/early November. She fired a total score of 15-under to take third place – 6 strokes behind the winner, Muni He.
Now 18 years old, Noh decided to skip college and try to make a home for herself in professional golf. Securing her 2020 tour card is a huge step on the path towards this goal.
Watch for Yealimi on tour to see if 2020 will be her breakout year.
Who Will Emerge as a Top Contender on the LPGA Tour?
With all of these great young players vying for recognition on the LPGA tour, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in 2020!