As we prepare for the the 2019 LPGA Tour season, which starts next week at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Florida, Joe Hughes runs the rule over five golfers he expects to be making headlines in the coming months…

Georgia Hall

She may have been snubbed at SPOTY, but the Englishwoman is now a major champion and will be looking to build on what was a solid debut season on the LPGA Tour.

The 22-year-old had three top-10 finishes, headlined by that Women’s British Open win, so the foundations are in place to build a hugely successful career.

It’s always nice to see some homegrown talent making a name for themselves in the golfing world and we’re certain that there is plenty more to come from Hall in the coming months and years.

Jeongeun Lee6

The LPGA rookie is undoubtedly one of the standout up-and-coming talents in ladies golf, and is fancied by many to make a huge impact on the LPGA Tour.

Having plied her trade on the LPGA of Korea for a few years, the 22-year-old is now ranked 19th in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, which is pretty impressive considering how rarely she has competed outside of Asia.

She claimed her card through the Q-Series at Pinehurst and after some deliberation has decided to make the US switch.

It’s hard to disagree with those suggesting Lee6 is a hot favourite to pick up the Rookie of the Year award come the end of the season, given her achievements in the game at such an early stage of her career.

Aside from the number 6 which is now part of her identity, I’m sure there will be many more reasons for which her name will be recognised in future.

Anne Van Dam  

Another LPGA rookie to add to the tracker is Dutch big-hitter. The 23-year-old has become one of the most intriguing players on the Ladies’ European Tour and was able to pick up a pair of victories in 2018.

Both of her wins came on Spanish soil in the latter stages of the year and will act as a nice confidence boost ahead of her debut in the States.

Stats don’t lie and Van Dam will be heading across the Atlantic having led the LET in driving distance and birdies in 2018. And with American courses more suited for big-hitters, it will be interesting how her statistics weigh up this time next year.

Su Oh

The South Korea-born Australian is an interesting talent and has the makings of a top professional.

She has been playing her golf on the LPGA Tour for a couple of years now but has struggled to really pick up any meaningful results. Having been the world’s No. 1 amateur in 2013, it looked certain that by now, she would have won at least one big LPGA tournament, but it has not quite worked like that.

However, there is no question of her talent and, still only 22, her best years are ahead of her.

We’re backing Oh to get over the line in 2019.

Ariya Jutanugarn

An obvious choice, sure. The 23-year-old already has 10 LPGA Tour wins under her belt, including two majors, and won last year’s Race to the CME Globe, but the winter has seen plenty of change in the Thai sensation’s set-up.

She recently split with her caddie, Les Luark, and will begin 2019 with Daniel Taylor on the bag. What’s more, Taylor, an experienced bagman, left his own fiancée, Pernilla Lindberg, to team up with the World No. 1.

Let’s see how this one pans out.

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

Handicap: 20

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