NAPLES, Fla. – Julieta Granada can’t take home the $1 million that is packed into a plexiglass cube at the CME Group Tour Championship this week, but it must have inspired her.
Granada became the first woman in the history of golf to win a $1 million paycheck when she claimed the LPGA Playoffs at ADT in 2006.
With a 6-under-par 66 Thursday, Granada took the first-round lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. Though Granada can’t win the Race to the CME Globe and its $1 million jackpot this year, she can take home a pretty good check on Sunday, the $500,000 Tour Championship winner’s check.
Granada, 28, is enjoying her best year since winning ADT in ’06. That was her first title and came in her rookie season. While she says she wouldn’t give the big payday back, Granada says winning so much so early in her career affected her drive and ambition.
“You're 20 years old, and it's your first year out here,” Granada said. “It's really exciting and fun and you win $ 1 million. Life becomes really good. You think you can just go relax a little bit. But everybody else out here is still grinding and going at it. I kind of sat back a little bit and relaxed, and I didn't have the same hunger to play well and to make money, I guess. So, yeah, it was a learning curve, but I wouldn't take it back.”
Granada has made $621,060 this season with seven top-10 finishes, ranking her 24th on the LPGA money list. It’s her best year since her rookie season. She'd like to cap it off with her second LPGA title.