Your 2021 picks: Our top 10 LPGA golf stories (No. 1 is all about Q-School)

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  • Nelly Korda
    American golfer

Before we even start down this road, let’s begin by explaining that the top 10 moments of the LPGA year were already well-chronicled by the esteemed Beth Ann Nichols, who covers the tour as well as anyone.

As Nichols explained, the LPGA’s “super” season certainly delivered on drama. Here is her list in its entirety.

But to close out the year, we’ve been looking through the numbers and tallying up which stories drew your attention, and we’re now sharing the findings with you.

For the final 10 days of 2021, we’re offering up a snapshot of the top 10 stories from each of Golfweek’s most popular sections, including travel, the PGA and LPGA tours, instruction and amateur golf. Here’s what we’ve already counted down.

Here’s a look at the top 10 LPGA stories, as clicked on by you (we should note, this list doesn’t include photo galleries or money lists):

10. Two-time LPGA winner gets engaged on 18th green at Diamond Resorts TOC

(Beth Ann Nichols/Golfweek)

The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions will always hold a special place for Jasmine Suwannapura. It’s where Michael David Thomas got down on one knee by the 18th green and proposed, putting the ultimate sparkle in her season-opening event on the LPGA.

“I actually picked the ring myself,” said Suwannapura, “but he didn’t say when it’s going to happen or how.”

The couple met two years ago on the dating app Bumble, but they didn’t actually see each other in person for almost two months. Suwannapura, a native of Bangkok who lives in Ashburn, Virginia, kept her real name and occupation under wraps too, telling him she was an event coordinator who traveled the world.

Here’s more on the story.

9. After nearly 13-year layoff, Annika Sorenstam makes LPGA cut despite bad ruling

Annika Sorenstam of Sweden tees walks hits from the fairway of the 15th hole during round two of the Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club on February 26, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Annika Sorenstam, playing in her first LPGA event since 2008, made the cut on the number at the Gainbride LPGA after carding a 1-under 71 on her home course. To play the weekend at age 50 after taking more than a decade off from competition, and for most of that time not even playing recreationally, is a remarkable feat.

Add in the fact that Sorenstam, a 72-time winner on the LPGA, received bad advice from an LPGA rules official on the fifth hole during the first round, which she triple-bogeyed, and it’s all rather mind-blowing.

Dan Maselli, the official who arrived on the scene Thursday when Sorenstam’s ball landed underneath a gate, met with the LPGA Hall of Famer after her second round to apologize. Sorenstam had taken an unplayable to get relief from the gate when, in fact, under the modernization of the rules, she could’ve opened it and played her second shot.

Rather than lash out at Maselli, Sorenstam instead ended up comforting him.

8. No. 1 Nelly Korda involved in controversial ruling at Solheim Cup: 'It's the worst way to win a hole'

The Solheim Cup - Day One
The Solheim Cup - Day One

Nelly Korda of Team USA and Ally Ewing of Team USA during the Foursomes Match on day one of the Solheim Cup at the Inverness Club on September 04, 2021, in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

What’s a Solheim Cup without controversy? World No. 1 Nelly Korda found herself embroiled in the middle of one on the 13th hole in the afternoon four-balls after Madelene Sagstrom quickly picked up Korda’s eagle putt, as the American still sat on the ground in disbelief.

Moments later Missy Jones, the LPGA rules official on the scene, informed players that Sagstrom had picked up the ball too early, and that because it was overhanging the edge, she was in violation of Rule 13.3b.

According to a statement issued by the LPGA, “The chief referee, match referee, observer and TV observer all deemed that Korda’s third shot on No. 13 was overhanging the hole and was picked up by her opponent before the waiting time had ended. Therefore, her third stroke was treated as holed.”

Here’s the rest of the story.

7. 5 things to know about world No. 1 Nelly Korda

Nelly Korda smiles on the 18th hole during the second round of the Pelican Women’s Championship at Pelican Golf Club on November 12, 2021, in Belleair, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Year of the Kordas just kept getting better. On the same weekend Sebastian Korda advanced to the finals of the Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Nelly Korda came back from a devastating triple-bogey on the 71st hole to win the Pelican Women’s Championship in a playoff against three of the world’s best players in Lydia Ko, Sei Young Kim and Lexi Thompson.

Here are five things to note about the World No. 1.

6. Cheyenne Woods, fueled by a wrong-ball penalty, medals at U.S. Women's Open qualifier

Cheyenne Woods tees off on the 18th hole during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship golf tournament at Shoal Creek. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Cheyenne Woods won the Spring Lake, New Jersey, U.S. Women’s Open qualifier by five strokes on Monday and credited a two-stroke penalty for lighting the fire that got her there.

On the par-4 seventh hole at Spring Lake Golf Club, both Woods and her playing competitor hit their second shots to the right on a somewhat blind approach. Woods said she hit her second shot quite poorly and assumed hers was the ball nestled down in the rough on the edge of a bunker. Her playing competitor indicated that the ball on the green was hers.

After Woods, 30, hit her third shot, she realized she’d hit the wrong Titleist ball. Woods incurred a two-stroke penalty, giving her a double-bogey on the hole.

Read more here.

5. Brooke Henderson competes on LPGA without sister Brittany on the bag for first time in five years

Brooke Henderson waits to hit her second shot on the second hole during the third round of the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Brittany Henderson hasn’t missed a week on younger sister Brooke’s bag since February 2016. That changed at the Meijer LPGA Classic after Brittany’s visa expired on June 15.

Brooke, a two-time winner of the Meijer (2017 and 2019), must meet the challenge of a new face on the bag as well as changes to the course as she looks to defend her title. (The Meijer was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

“You know, I’m definitely sad that Brit is not with me on the bag this week,” said Brooke at the time. “Definitely be a big change. I think the main thing this week is to try to keep things simple and have fun on a golf course that I’ve played really well on before.”

Here’s the rest of the story.

4. Michelle Wie West designed an LPGA hoodie that sold out in three hours

A tie-dye hoodie featuring the LPGA logo designed by Michelle Wie West and worn by Kent Bazemore and Damion Lee of the Golden State Warriors created quite the stir on social media. Wie West noted on Instagram that the hoodie, priced at $74.99, sold out in three hours.

Here’s more on the phenomenon.

Kia Classic Michelle Wie West
Kia Classic Michelle Wie West

Michelle Wie West plays during a practice round for the KIA Classic at the Aviara Golf Club on March 23, 2021, in Carlsbad, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

3. 'I'm not faking this': Hype man Bubba Watson didn't just show up at the Solheim Cup, he went all in

Bubba Watson waits to fist bump Nelly Korda of Team USA after she made a putt on the thirteenth green during morning foursomes in the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Bubba Watson was everywhere at the Solheim Cup, doing whatever was asked of him. He didn’t just show up to support the women – he stayed. All week. With a radio in his ear and a smile on his face, Watson joined Team USA at the Inverness Club as a helper, giving advice and reportedly filling divots.

Watson reached out to U.S. captain Pat Hurst a month prior and asked: How can I help?

Here was the answer.

2. Meet the women who represented Team USA at the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness

LPGA: Solheim Cup - First Day - Foursomes
LPGA: Solheim Cup - First Day - Foursomes

Nelly Korda (left) of Team USA walks with sister and playing partner Jessica Korda on the sixteenth hole during the morning foursomes of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After a drama-filled week at Carnoustie, nothing changed when it came to Team USA’s list of automatic qualifiers for the 2021 Solheim Cup.

Megan Khang held onto the seventh and final spot off the U.S. Solheim Cup points list. And Lizette Salas, who finished in a share of second at the AIG Women’s British Open, maintained her position to qualify off the Rolex Rankings at No. 14 along with rookie Jennifer Kupcho (No. 28).

1. Meet each of the 46 players who earned LPGA cards at Q-Series for 2022

2021 U.S. Women's Amateur
2021 U.S. Women's Amateur

Yu-Chiang Hou at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.. (Darren Carroll/USGA)

A total of 29 players earned LPGA status for the first time following an eight-round grind at Q-Series. Winner Na Rin An was among them, carding Sunday’s lowest-round, 6-under 66, to finish at 33 under.

In all, 46 players left Dothan, Alabama with LPGA status. Among the high-ranking elites was a major winner in Hinako Shibuno and a hotshot from Thailand, Atthaya Thitikul, who dominated in Europe this season, and a couple of sisters from Taiwan. A total of four amateurs earned LPGA status for 2022, should they accept.

Here’s a closer look at the 46 who earned their LPGA cards for 2022.

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