The past two years I have counted down the top 30 (2013) and top 25 (2014) players on the WTA and LPGA money lists as my year-end wrap-up. This year I am reducing the list to the top 15. However, I am adding the LPGA of Japan (JLPGA) to the countdown. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed doubles are added to the total money earnings. For the JLPGA, I will approximate the US Dollar totals based on the day I look up the exchange rate. Here are the #15 players for 2015: Martina Hingis (WTA), Akane Iijima (JLPGA) and Ha-Na Jang (LPGA).
MARTINA HINGIS (WTA)
2015 Prize Money: $1,756,400 USD
Titles: (DOUBLES) Wimbledon, US Open, WTA Tour Finals, BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells), Miami Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Guangzhou International Women’s Open, Wuhan Open, China Open (Beijing), Brisbane International, Family Circle Cup; (MIXED DOUBLES) Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open
How wonderful to start this year’s countdown with a Hall of Famer! Martina Hingis has nothing to prove on the tennis court. But if she did, she would have proven it in 2015. She won 10 titles in women’s doubles, 1 with Sabine Lisicki (Brisbane International) and 9 with Sania Mirza. Those 9 with Mirza included 2 Majors, Wimbledon and the US Open, and the WTA Tour Finals. She reached a milestone of 50 women’s doubles titles to go along with the 43 singles titles she already earned. Not to stop there, she also won 3 mixed doubles Majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open) with Leander Paes. There’s even talk that we could see Martina joining Roger Federer to play mixed doubles for Switzerland at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. At 35 years young, Hingis is headed towards the future, not the pasture.
AKANE IIJIMA (JLPGA)
2015 Prize Money: $457,791 USD (¥ 56,227,280)
Titles: T-Point Ladies Golf Tournament
Akane Iijima started her year off with positive results, none moreso than her victory at the T-Point Ladies Golf Tournament. She didn’t finish quite as strongly with fair to middling results, but let’s be honest. Any time you can win an event, much less have that event be your first title since 2010…well, you end a victory drought that long, it’s a great year in my book. After finishing outside the top 40 on the scoring list the past two years, her #15 finish in 2015 is, not surprisingly, her best money list performance since 2010 when she came in 9th for the year. Her T-Point win marked her 7th career JLPGA title.
HA-NA JANG (LPGA)
2015 Prize Money: $883,032
It was a notable year for LPGA rookies in 2015, so perhaps it’s fitting that this countdown’s LPGA section starts with one of the best, South Korea’s Ha-Na Jang. Although she didn’t win this season, she had 4 runner-up finishes. In fact, she started and ended her calendar with T2 finishes at the Coates Golf Championship and the CME Group Tour Championship respectively. Her other bridesmaid finishes were at the Marathon Classic and Cambria Portland Classic. As fantastic a year as she had, if there were one thing she needs to clean up it’s her putting. She was 7th in greens in regulation but 22nd in putts per GIR and 65th overall in putting. If she improves on that moving forward, look for those 2nd place finishes to turn into wins.
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