Welcome to the first edition of the Just Women’s Sports LPGA power rankings. Every month this season, we’ll weigh factors such as wins, top-10 finishes and all-around performances while compiling the list of the top golfers on tour.
This will not be an exact replica of the Rolex World Rankings, though there will likely be some correlation. For example, you’ll notice that World No. 2 Nelly Korda does not appear on the list, as she’s out indefinitely with a blood clot.
As the LPGA gets set to tee off its first major of the year at the Chevron Championship, we run down the top 10 golfers playing right now.
Six wins in her last eleven starts. Next.
In all seriousness, since Ko skipped the AIG Women’s Open last August to put in more work with her coach, Si Woo Lee, she has added even more records to her already historic ledger. Ko hit 63 consecutive greens in regulation to close out the 2021 CME Group Tour Championship, winning her second Rolex Player of the Year award. The streak ended at 66 during the first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
The World No. 1 has recorded an immaculate 16 straight rounds in the 60s, a feat never seen before on the LPGA Tour. She’s also posted 34 consecutive rounds under par and nine consecutive top 10 finishes. Her per-round scoring average this season is 68.2.
Ko makes her third start of the year at the Chevron Championship while playing her best golf. Her last two finishes at the Dinah Shore Course were a victory in 2019 and a T7 finish in 2021. Should Ko secure her third major title, she’ll be in the driver’s seat to catch 27-time winner Lorena Ochoa for the most weeks atop the Rolex Rankings. Ko, at 122, currently sits 32 weeks behind Ochoa at 154.
Top 10s: 2
Best Finish: Win at HSBC Women’s Championship
If not for Ko’s laundry list of accomplishments, Kang would be worthy of the top spot. Since overhauling her team this offseason — bringing in a new physio, nutritionist and trainer — she has been tearing it up.
The American finished first and second in the two opening events of the season. Overseas, Kang posted back-to-back top 10s before a T42 finish in Carlsbad, Calif.
“I don’t know if this would be a good thing to say, but I’m using this week as practice a little bit for next week,” Kang said after the opening round of the JTBC Classic, the tournament directly ahead of the Chevron Championship. “There are still some parts of my game that I want to tune up, and I want to go in next week really confident.”
That’s some earned confidence displayed from the six-time tour winner, who’s finished in the top 15 in her last three starts at the Chevron Championship.
Top 10s: 4
Best Finish: Win at Hilton Resorts Tournament of Champions
The 2021 Vare Trophy winner (awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average in a season) is back to playing consistent golf six years removed from her time atop the rankings in 2015 and ‘16. Since last October, Ko has finished in the top 10 in five of her previous seven starts, with a T12 result last week narrowly missing the mark.
That streak culminated with her 17th-career LPGA victory at the Gainbridge LPGA, the second tournament of the tournament at Boca Rio.
Next month, Ko will look to defend her Lotte Championship title from 2021, when she finished 28-under par for her first victory in three seasons.
Top 10s: 2
Best Finish: Win at Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio
Say hello to the newest LPGA star. It won’t be surprising to see her continue to ascend the JWS power rankings, just like she has in the Rolex World Rankings. In 20th place to start the season, Thitikul vaulted into fifth after shooting a final-round 64 and winning the JTBC Classic in a playoff. She’s the clear frontrunner for Rolex Rookie of the Year, currently sitting with 329 points and holding a 215-point advantage over Hye-Jin Choi in second place.
Thitikul has even contended in LPGA majors, finishing in fifth place at the Evian Championship last July. One of the only blips on her resume is a T11 finish at the LPGA Drive On Championship in her second start of the season, causing her to narrowly miss the bar for an 80 percent top-10 rate.
Top 10s: 3
Best Finish: Win at JTBC Classic
The winningest Canadian in golf history finished as the runner-up at the Hilton Tournament of Champions to start the season and hasn’t slowed down since. She’d be five-for-five in top 10s if not for a T11 finish – like Thitikul – at the LPGA Drive On Championship.
“To come out this year so strong, I’m definitely happy and proud of that,” Henderson said after the final round of the Honda LPGA Thailand. “I feel like I’m inching my way closer every week to getting a little bit more comfortable and just enjoying those final groups as much as I have been.”
Henderson tends to win in bunches, having won two tournaments a season from 2016-19. She appears to be on the precipice of one of those runs with her consistent play of late. In late April, she’ll defend her title at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles at the DIO Implant L.A. Open.
Top 10s: 4
Best Finish: 2nd at Hilton Resorts Tournament of Champions
It’s incredible how just one stroke can swing your fate in golf. On the 72nd hole at the JTBC Classic, Koerstz Madsen stared down a 5-footer for the win. After becoming the first Danish woman ever to win on the LPGA Tour in Thailand, the 27-year-old nearly went back-to-back and earned the No. 2 spot in these rankings.
Instead, she missed the putt and lost to Thitikul in a playoff. It was her second top-two finish this year and a dramatic reversal from missing the cut in her first start of the season.
Top 10s: 2
Best Finish: Win at Honda LPGA Thailand
Leona Maguire checked off what felt like an inevitable box for the former No. 1 amateur in the world at Crown Colony Golf & Country Club in early February. The day before her mom’s birthday, Maguire shot 18-under par at the Drive On Championship for her first victory and the first by an Irishwoman on the LPGA Tour.
“The support from home has been incredible,” Maguire said. “They’ve been rallying behind me, and that’s something that I’m truly grateful for. It’s always an honor to represent Ireland, no matter where you go.”
Maguire stayed steady in southeast Asia, with a T13 finish in Singapore and a T12 in Thailand.
Top 10s: 1
Best Finish: Win at LPGA Drive On Championship Crown Colony
The Frenchwoman has been on a tear since last June, when she shot a tournemant-record 64 at the Mediheal Championship. She’s finished in the top 10 in nine of her 19 starts since then, and she has three top-five finishes this season. And in 15 rounds on tour this year, the two-time winner has yet to shoot over par.
“I feel pretty good about my weekends, to be honest,” Boutier explained at the Drive On Championship. “It was something I was struggling a bit with last year. I feel like I had a lot of tournaments where I played well the first two days, and then it’s not always easy to be either in the lead or in contention, especially the last two rounds … And I feel like the past two weeks have kind of proved that I got better at that. I feel like I handled it better.”
After passing on the JTBC Classic, she returns at the Chevron Championship, where she finished T50 last year.
Top 10s: 3
Best Finish: 3rd at Honda LPGA Thailand
The 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner did something no other woman in golf ever has before rejoining the LPGA in Singapore this year: Green won a mixed-gender event on the PGA Tour Australasia’s TPC Murray River. Before that, she’d won the Women’s Vic Open, a former LPGA event.
“I want to be in the top 10 in the world,” Green said after her TPC Murray River victory. “I think I can achieve it. If I keep playing the golf that I am now, hopefully I can get there.”
The Australian kept the momentum going in her opening tour start in Singapore, with a T6 finish.
Top 10s: 1
Best Finish: T-6 HSBC Women’s Championship
The Florida resident opened the LPGA calendar with two starts in her home state, finishing T6 at the Gainbridge LPGA Boca Rio and second at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crow Colony. Thompson, who recorded victories in seven consecutive seasons from 2013-19, is looking to return to the winner’s circle. The last time she hoisted a trophy, she dropped a cross-green bomb for eagle for her 11th career victory at the 2019 Shoprite LPGA Classic.
“Just going to continue to work hard and stay in the moment and put myself in contention and hopefully a win will come,” Thompson said after the Drive On Championship.
The first major of the year gives Thompson an opportunity to surge in the power rankings. The Dinah Shore course, home of the Chevron Championship, is one where Thompson has historically excelled. In 12 career starts at Dinah Shore, she’s posted six top-10 finishes, including a victory in 2014.
Top 10s: 2
Best Finish: 2nd at LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony
Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.