As the players are warming up and preparing to tee off at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer there’s a subtext surfacing: Who’s going to overtake Inbee Park and claim the top of the world rankings? The 59-week run of Inbee Park at the No. 1 spot is in more jeopardy this week than at maybe any point since it began with both Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko nipping on Park’s heels and the near-mythic battle between Park and Suzann Pettersen that dominated the final months of the 2013 season has been eclipsed by a race between Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko to get to the top.
Twice in the past month Lewis has let the number 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings slip through her fingers, or bounced off her putter. Following her victory at the North Texas LPGA Shootout Presented by JTBC a win at either the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC or the Airbus Classic Presented by JTBC would have put her at the top of the rankings, but she finished in a tied 12th place at Kingsmill and a tied 10th place at the Airbus.
Now, with Ko back in the field, the question of who’s the best could be settled this weekend.
Ko, currently No. 3 behind Park and Lewis, has only 31 events feeding into her Rolex Rankings because of when she turned pro, so her finishes are more impactful to her ranking than Park’s and Lewis. In turn, she’s actually more of a threat to take over Park’s No. 1 than Lewis this week. If the two finish tied for second or tied for third together then Ko would actually be No. 1.
For Lewis to take over No. 1
- Solo 2nd place or a win as long as Park or Ko don’t win.
- Solo 3rd place as long as Park and Ko finish worse than 5th.
- 9th or better if both Park and Ko get cut.
For Ko to take over No. 1
- Tied for 2nd or better as long as Park or Lewis don’t win.
- Tied for 3rd as long as Park or Lewis finish tied for 3rd or worse.
- 12th or better if both Park and Lewis get cut.
Ko is paired with Inbee Park and Paula Creamer today and Lewis is paired with Sandra Gal and Chella Choi. Both groups will be on the field during Golf Channel coverage, noon-2:30pm ET.