Time is running out for players like Patty Tavatanakit. The top 60 players and ties on the Race to CME Globe points list qualify for the season-ending championship, and this week’s Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican is the final event before the list is finalized.
Tavatanakit, who currently sits 61st on the points list, opened with a 7-under 63 on a picture-perfect day at Pelican Golf Club to hold a share of the lead with former No. 1 Jin Young Ko.
“I’ve been like preparing for this event,” said Tavanatakit, the 2021 ANA Inspiration winner. “Obviously I knew what I had to do. I’m pretty stressed, but at the same time, I feel like I did everything under my control. I did everything with no regrets.”
The CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club offers the largest non-major purse on the LPGA at $7 million. The CME winner receives $2 million.
There are a number of high-profile major winners currently on the outside looking in. Here’s a list of bubble players as well as some stars who need a big week:
60. Bianca Pagdanganan
As it currently stands, Pagdanganan would be the last player to qualify for the CME field. The former Arizona standout dropped three places this week. Her last start on the LPGA came in early October at The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America where she tied for second to secure her card for 2024. Pagdanganan tied for third the week prior.
61. Patty Tavatanakit
Tavatanakit’s last top-10 finish came in August at the Women’s Scottish Open when she tied for sixth. The Thai player’s first-round 63 at Pelican is her lowest round of the season.
62. Sarah Schmelzel
Schmelzel bounced back from four consecutive missed cuts midseason to notch three straight top-20 finishes during the LPGA’s fall stretch. Schmelzel opened The Annika with a 68.
63. Lauren Coughlin
Coughlin’s on the cusp of qualifying for her first CME. It will take something special on Friday, however, to keep those hopes alive after she shot 73 on Thursday at Pelican.
64. Eun-Hee Ji
Six-time LPGA winner Ji, who captured the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, played in three events on the Asian swing and never cracked the top 50. She’ll have to turn things around quickly to have a chance of getting to Naples, Florida.
73. Maria Fassi
Fassi’s trending in the right direction after taking a share of eighth last week in Japan. The former NCAA champion finished 65th on the CME points list last year after taking a share of seventh at the Pelican. She needed to finish inside the top 6 at least to have a chance. Instead, Fassi bogeyed the last two holes to slip outside the bubble.
75. In Gee Chun
Three-time major winner Chun hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since the CPKC Women’s Open in August. It was, in fact, her only top 10 of the season.
83. Stacy Lewis
The 2023 and 2024 Solheim captain returns to competition for the first time in over a month. A more rested Lewis had the chance to work on her game for two weeks heading into Pelican. She missed her last five cuts on the LPGA before that break.
88. Lexi Thompson
Thompson’s noted turnaround this season might have come just in time to earn her a trip to CME. It will take another top-3 finish at Pelican for Thompson to have a chance. She has finished runner-up at the tour’s penultimate event the past two seasons.