Fairways and Forehands 2015 WTA, JLPGA and LPGA Top 15 Year In Review: #8 Lucie Safarova, Erika Kikuchi and So Yeon Ryu

Lucie Safarova (click to enlarge)

For 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 #8 players for 2015: Lucie Safarova (WTA), Erika Kikuchi (JLPGA) and So Yeon Ryu (LPGA).

LUCIE SAFAROVA (WTA)

2015 Prize Money: $2,946,261

Titles: (SINGLES) Qatar Total Open; (DOUBLES) Australian Open (Major), Roland Garros (Major), Stuttgart Open, Rogers Cup; (TEAM) Fed Cup (Czech Republic)

It was a career year for Lucie Safarova. She reached her first singles Major final at Roland Garros. She teamed with Bethanie Mattek-Sands to win 4 events, including 2 Majors (Australian Open, Roland Garros). Lucie achieved her highest ranking ever in both singles and doubles. But it could have been even better. After reaching the final of the Connecticut Open, she suffered an abdominal tear in the championship match against Petra Kvitova and ended up acquiring a bacterial infection that hospitalized her for a week and took months from which to recover. She was ill in her first round at the US Open and never really returned to full strength, even though she returned to the tour in time for the WTA Finals and Fed Cup. I hope Lucie has another career year in 2016, but this time gets the opportunity to finish what she started.

 

Erika Kikuchi (click to enlarge)

ERIKA KIKUCHI (JLPGA)

2015 Prize Money: $732,900 USD (¥88,274,415)

Titles: KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

Speaking of career years, the JLPGA’s Erika Kikuchi had her best year ever on tour. She was simply on target for most of the year, with 14 top 10s and 3 runners-up finishes. She was top 10 on the money list, scoring list and putting. Her prize money and scoring average were both professional bests. The highlight of her sensational season was a wire to wire victory at the KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open. On tour since 2008, it was Erika’s first career JLPGA victory. It’s tough to predict how much higher she can go from here. The very top the JLPGA is extremely tough to crack. I’d like to see 27-year old Kikuchi make a run for the top 5, but in the end we’ll see. All I know is this year she had a victory with 3 runners-up. What if she had won 2 of those 3 bridesmaid finishes? She might have been top 5 this year.

 

So Yeon Ryu (click to enlarge)

SO YEON RYU (LPGA)

2015 Prize Money: $1,292,395

Sometimes I hate the way it sounds when I say a player could have or should have done something, or underachieved on this list. A player wouldn’t even make the top 15 money list standings on this countdown if they weren’t among the handful of the world’s best. So keep in mind that I am judging by a player’s own incredibly high standard. That goes for the amazingly talented So Yeon Ryu. I think she is one of the most special players in the world. That’s evident not only by her success on the LPGA but the fact that she won on the KLPGA and LET tour in 2015. But while she had 10 top 10s in 2015 on the LPGA tour, she didn’t take a title. She has 3 career LPGA victories. I truly believe she has the talent to win 3 titles in a year. Of her 10 top 10s, 9 of them were top 5s. She puts herself in the mix so often. For the past few years, I’ve started the WTA season saying it would be the year ultra-talented Petra Kvitova breaks through to the top of the tour. Well, let me start a trend for the LPGA by saying 2016 will be the year ultra-talented So Yeon Ryu breaks through straight to the top of the tour.

 

ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE

LUCIE SAFAROVA

Fed Cup

Fed Cup

WTA Finals

WTA Finals

WTA Finals

WTA Finals w/Bethanie Mattek-Sands

WTA Finals

WTA Finals

WTA Finals

WTA Finals w/Petra Kvitova

WTA Finals w/Flavia Pennetta, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova

WTA Finals w/Petra Kvitova

WTA Finals

US Open

Connecticut Open

Connecticut Open

Connecticut Open w/Petra Kvitova

Connecticut Open

Connecticut Open

Connecticut Open

Connecticut Open

Rogers Cup w/Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Rogers Cup

Rogers Cup

Rogers Cup

Wimbledon w/Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Roland Garros w/Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros w/Serena Williams

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Roland Garros w/Maria Sharapova

Roland Garros

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship

Australian Open w/Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Sydney International

Hopman Cup

Hopman Cup

Hopman Cup

 

ERIKA KIKUCHI

Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open

Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open

Ito En Ladies Golf Tournament

Stanley Ladies

Konica Minolta Cup

Golf 5 Ladies

Golf 5 Ladies

CAT Ladies

Century 21 Ladies

Yonex Ladies

CyberAgent Ladies

CyberAgent Ladies

Fujisankei Ladies

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open

AXA Ladies

AXA Ladies

T-Point Ladies

 

SO YEON RYU

LPGA Rolex Player Awards

Lorena Ochoa Invitational

Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship

Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship

Japan Women’s Open

Japan Women’s Open

Evian Championship (SYR named Rolex Ambassador)

Evian Championship w/Inbee Park

Evian Championship w/Jean-Noel Bioul

Ricoh Women’s British Open

Ricoh Women’s British Open

US Women’s Open

Kingsmill Championship

Kingsmill Championship

LPGA Lotte Championship w/Sei-Young Kim

LPGA Lotte Championship w/Shanshan Feng

ANA Inspiration

ANA Inspiration

ANA Inspiration

HSBC Women’s Champions

LPGA Australian Open

LPGA Australian Open

LPGA Australian Open w/Charley Hull

LPGA Australian Open

 

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