Driving for show, putting for dough at the 2015 US Women’s Open.
We’ve all heard it and for the most part right up until I did the research for this article I believed it. So who are the top putters in the US Women’s Open field? Once we have that information, it should be fairly easy to pick the players who will be in the mix at the top of Sunday’s leaderboard this week. I want you to take a guess before you read on. Go ahead. Jot down two or three names.
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Let me guess who you picked: Inbee Park, the Serene Queen of the Putting Surface? Averaging 29.32 putts per round this year, Park ranks 15th on the Tour in putting, falling outside my top-10 list. Yet she’s leading the Tour on the Official Money List and she’s sitting on top of the world rankings.
Let’s try again. What about Cristie Kerr, so sure of her putts that she walks them into the cup? If you picked Kerr, who’s 41st on the Tour in the putting average department, you would have been wrong again. Kerr’s averaging 29.81 putts per round, not that much more than Inbee Park and yet well below her in the Tour putting ranking.
Clearly, when we’re talking about good putting we’re talking about those players who grind it out on the putting surface, week in and week out, and manage to consistently close out their round with less than 30 putts. That’s not necessarily the player who sinks one of those spectacular 50′ or 60′ putts that leaves us all breathless.
Do the math. If, in fact, 50% of the strokes in any round of golf are made on the green then completing an 18-hole round with 30 or less putts is practically a guaranteed sub-par round in the 60s. And so it just makes sense that the best putters are going to dominate the game week after week and be near the top of the Tour’s Official Money List.
Or does it? Let’s check it out.
For starters, three of the players ranked inside the Tour’s top-10 in putting aren’t in the 2015 US Women’s Open field: 10th ranked Jing Yan, a rookie who’s averaging 29.20 putts per round (based on 25 rounds played in 2015) but who’s ranked 165th by Rolex; 8th ranked P.K. Kongkraphan, who’s averaging 29.10 putts per round (based on 40 rounds played in 2015) and who’s ranked 217th by Rolex; and Julie Yang who with 28.5 putts per round (based on 18 rounds played in 2015) is statistically the top-ranked putter on tour. Notably, Yang tumbled from 152 to 159 on the LPGA Priority List at the mid-year reshuffle.
Let’s look at the remaining seven player inside the top-ranked putters on the Tour, who are all in the 2015 US Women’s Open field.
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