LPGA Rookie of the Year race update: Park v Yin v Korda

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /
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LPGA rookie
Nelly Korda. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Nelly Korda has a 60 point lead over Peiyun Chien and that’s a substantial edge that Chien will be challenged to close. It’s not impossible, but Chien needs to notch a win or at least record several high finishes if she hopes to close the gap during the 2nd half of the season.

Closing the gap won’t be a simple task. Nelly Korda has impeccable credentials. She qualified for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open as a 14-year old and followed up with a 2015 appearance on the American Junior Solheim Cup team. She recorded two big wins in 2015, the Ping Invitational and the Harter Hall Invitational and was honored by the AJGA as a Junior All-American.

2015 set Nelly Korda up for the next step in her golf career and she distinguished herself during her 2016 rookie year on the Symetra Tour, starting 19 events, making 15 cuts, notching her first pro victory at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge and recording 6 additional top 10s. Korda ended her season in 9th place in the Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card and LPGA Tour playing privileges for 2017.

Korda hasn’t let up on the gas. She’s started 8 events, made 8 cuts, and recorded a season-high T5 at the Tour’s season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas.

Nelly Korda has a very respectable long game in her bag and an even better short game. Averaging 28.93 putts per round, she ranks 20th on the Tour in putting.  Jessica Korda’s little sister has quickly established herself as an up-and-comer on the Tour. But can she catch Angel Yin, another American rookie who’s making an early mark on the Tour?