Posted by: happyfan08 | January 18, 2009

2008 Awards: Top Teen Performance

Vicky Hurst, Futures Tour

To say that Vicky Hurst dominated the Futures Tour in 2008 is to severely understate just how incredible her season was. She shattered records, at times toyed with fields, and managed to stroll away with a 2009 LPGA tour card while playing fewer events than many of her competitors.  And she did all this well before her 19th birthday.


Vicky Hurst holds one of the five trophies she won on the Futures Tour in 2008

Vicky Hurst holds one of the five trophies she won on the Futures Tour in 2008


Vicky played the Futures Tour Qualifying School late in 2007 as a 17 year old amateur and won.  She decided to turn pro, and joined the tour in 2008.  In just her third event, she had a four shot lead and looked likely to win when teen star MJ Hur caught her and beat her in a playoff.  Hurst apparently learned from this experience, for the next tournament, she absolutely sizzled in the final round, shooting a 64 to collect a three shot win.  In so doing, she became the youngest professional to ever win a professional event in the US, breaking the record set on the Futures Tour in 2007 by Song Hee Kim.  She also set the all time record for lowest three round score in Futures Tour history: her 198, 18 under par total, was two strokes better than the previous record, which had been held by Seoul Sister star Grace Park.


Hurst took some time off after that to finish up high school, but returned to winning form in time for the Duramed Futures Players Championship, the first Major in the history of the Futures Tour.  She entered the final round of this event four shots behind rival Hur, but played another fantastic final round, eventually cruising to a four shot win.


Hurst ran into another challenge at her next event, the Horseshoe Casino Classic.  She shot a second round 76 and dropped two shots out of the lead.  Not to worry: like she had in her previous event, she had a fantastic final round.  She took the lead for good on hole 12, and wound up carding a 5 under par 67 to grab another win, this time by a shot.  She would go on to claim a fourth win, and third in a row, at the Cigna Golf Classic in early July.  By this time, she had clearly earned her LPGA card for 2009, and in all likelihood would lead the money list as well.  The only question now was how much money she would wind up with at the end of the year, and would it be enough to break the all time record on tour?


As it turned out, Hurst did not win another event the rest of the regular season, although she did claim the unofficial Duramed Invitational after the season ended.  But she made top five finishes in all but one of the remaining events she played, and wound up earning $93,107 for the year, easily breaking the record for most money earned in a single season on the Futures Tour.


Look out for super teen Vicky Hurst on the LPGA in 2009!


Honorable Mentions:

Amy Yang, LET

Amy Yang was disappointed not to earn exempt status on the LPGA in the 2007 Qualifying School.  So, she decided to play mainly on the Ladies European Tour in 2008 (she had membership there thanks to her win at the 2006 ANZ Ladies Masters).  It was a wise move by the long hitting teen.  Yang started the year with top tens in the two Australian events.  After an 18th at the Spanish Women’s Open, she went on a tear, making two fifths, a third and a second in her next four events. 


She finally claimed her first win on tour since turning pro in May at the Ladies German Open.  She shot a scintillating 63 in round three to take a five shot lead, then cruised to a four shot victory at 21 under par.  The win moved her to the top of the money list on the European tour; she would eventually finish 4th, a remarkable achievement for a teenager in her first full year.


Yang turned 19 in July and continued her great year.  Though she struggled a bit after that, she did notch a second win at the Scandinavian TPC, the final event played in Sweden by Annika Sorenstam, and collected several more top tens besides.


Amy topped off her year by finishing second at 2008 LPGA Q-School, earning her longed for exempt status on tour at last.


So Yeon Ryu/He Yong Choi, KLPGA

The two top rookies on the KLPGA in 2008 were both 17 years old when the season started.  Both won tournaments in 2008, notched several more top fives, and finished in the top ten on the money list.


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