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With Lydia Ko on cusp of making LPGA Hall of Fame, here are 9 players hoping to follow her

January 24, 2024
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Han Myung-Gu

Lydia Ko's title at the Hilton Grand Resorts Tournament of Champions on Sunday put her on the precipice of becoming the youngest successful qualifier into the LPGA's Hall of Fame. With the victory, the 26-year-old earned her 26th LPGA Hall of Fame point, putting her one point shy of eligibility. Ko would be the first to enter the hall since Inbee Park in 2016, when the South Korean was 27.

Unliked the World Golf Hall of Fame, the tour uses a points-based system, instead of votes, to determine qualifying. One point is earned for winning a regular tournament, the Olympics, the Vare Trophy or Player of the Year. Two points are awarded for a major title. In a rule that could only apply in the most extreme case, players must win at least one season award or major to be eligible.

With the grueling difficulty of getting in, there are 34 members of the LPGA's hall. Only 23 of them earned their way in by points, with the tour inducting eight of its 13 Founders and Dinah Shore through an honorary category.

Over the last 21 years, only five players have earned their way in: Annika Sorenstam (2003), Karrie Webb (2005), Se Ri Pak (2007), Park (2016) and Lorena Ochoa (2022). Multiple active end-of-career stars of the game are on the outside looking in, with their point totals just short, including Laura Davies (25), Yani Tseng (23) and Cristie Kerr (22).

With Ko on the doorstep of entering one of the most challenging Hall of Fames in all of sports, here are the 10 active players with at least 10 LPGA Hall of Fame points who have contended in recent years.

1) Lydia Ko: 26 points

Age: 26

Wins: 20

Majors Titles: 2 (2015 Evian Championship, 2016 ANA Inspiration)

Player of the Year: 2 (2015, 2022)

Vare Trophy: 2 (2021, 2022)

Change to make it: Virtual lock

Ko earned the bulk of her points during her teen years. She won 14 times before reaching her 20s, including her two major titles and her first Player of the Year award. Impressively, the Kiwi's first two victories came as an amateur at the CN Women's Open in 2012 and 2013. Ko only notched one victory between 2017 and 2021, but her five-point 2022 campaign put her only two away from successful qualification.

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Mike Ehrmann

2) Jin Young Ko: 20 points

Age: 28

Wins: 15

Majors: 2 (2019 ANA Inspiration, 2019 Evian Championship)

Player of the Year: 2 (2019, 2021)

Vare Trophy: 1 (2019)

Chance to make it: Probable

Ko received 14 points in just two seasons, 2019 and 2021. In her sophomore year on tour, the South Korean earned eight points from four victories, including her first two career majors while sweeping the season awards. In 2021, the longest-tenured No. 1 in Rolex Ranking history won four of the last seven tournaments, including the CME Tour Championship, to overtake Nelly Korda for Player of the Year. Ko has won at least once on the LPGA every year since 2017.

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Mark Runnacles

3) Stacy Lewis: 19 points

Age: 38

Wins: 13

Majors: 2 (2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2013 Ricoh Women's British Open)

Player of the Year: 2 (2012, 2014)

Vare Trophy: 2 (2013, 2014)

Chance to make it: Slim

Lewis gained five points a season between 2012 and 2014. In 2012, she won four times and became the first American to earn the Player of the Year since Beth Daniel in 1994. She had three victories, including her second major and the Vare Trophy in 2013. During 2014, Lewis won three times and swept the season award race. That pace has slowed, with Lewis only gaining two points since, the last coming from her 2020 Scottish Women's Open title.

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Dylan Buell

4) Ariya Jutanugarn: 17 points

Age: 28

Wins: 12

Majors: 2 (2016 Ricoh Women's British Open, 2018 U.S. Women's Open)

Player of the Year: 2 (2016, 2018)

Vare Trophy: 1 (2018)

Chance to make it: Low

Jutanugarn's biggest points year came the same season she won her first LPGA event in May 2016. In just that month alone, she collected points two more times. Jutanugarn corralled five titles that season, including becoming the first Thai to win an LPGA major, completing an eight-point year. She earned five points in 2018 with her second major title and a three-victory campaign.

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Cliff Hawkins

5) Brooke Henderson: 15 points

Age: 26

Wins: 13

Majors: 2 (2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, 2022 Amundi Evian Championship)

Chance to make it: 50/50

The all-time winningest Canadian player in professional golf history is an oddity on this list. Henderson has not received more than three points in a season, but has earned at least one in eight of her nine years on tour. Her two campaigns with major victories delivered the three-point seasons. She holds the highest place on the list without a season-ending award.

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Robert Laberge/Getty Images

6) Sei Young Kim: 14 points

Age: 31

Wins: 12

Majors: 1 (2020 KPMG Women's PGA Championship)

Player of the Year: 1 (2020)

Chance to make it: Slim

Kim gained four points in 2020, the most successful year of her career, earning her first major title and lone season award. The 2015 Rookie of the Year held a similar track record to Henderson, gaining at least one point every season on tour, until her last victory at the 2020 Pelican Women's Open.

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Michael Owens

7) Lexi Thompson: 13 points

Age: 28

Wins: 11

Majors: 1 (2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship)

Vare Trophy: 1 (2017)

Chance to make it: Slim

Thompson held a Hall of Fame trajectory five years ago, having won at least once for seven consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2019. However, she has not earned any more Hall of Fame points since her last victory at the 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic.

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Chung Sung-Jun

T-8) Minjee Lee: 12 points

Age: 27

Wins: 10

Majors: 2 (2021 Amundi Evian Championship, 2022 U.S. Women's Open)

Lee gained five points over the past two seasons, with two victories over the Australian's last four starts in 2023 nudging her a little shy of halfway to the Hall.

Chance to make it: Low

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Warren Little/R&A

T-8) Anna Nordqvist: 12 points

Age: 36

Wins: 9

Majors: 3 (2009 Mcdonald's LPGA Championship, 2017 Evian Championship, 2021 AIG Women's Open)

Chance to make it: Virtually zero

Nordqvist has impressively won three major titles over three separate decades, but has not earned more than three points in a single season.

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Harry How

10) Nelly Korda: 10 points

Age: 25

Wins: 7

Majors: 1 (2021 KPMG Women's PGA Championship)

Olympic Gold Medal: 2020 Olympics

Chance to make it: Low

Korda earned six points in 2021, winning four titles, the Olympics, and the first major of her career. Rebounding from a winless 2023 can put the American back on track towards Hall of Fame qualification.