Seventeen-year-old Lydia Ko captured the richest prize in LPGA history on Sunday, winning both the CME Group Tour Championship and the season-long Race to the CME Globe. Here’s the skinny on the final round at Tiburon Golf Club:
The leaderboard: Lydia Ko, Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada at -10; Morgan Pressel (-8); Michelle Wie and Sandra Gal at -7
What it means: She’s already a millionaire, but Ko collected another $1.5 million – the biggest payday in women’s golf history – with her performance in Naples. Entering the week at No. 3 in the standings and in control of her own destiny, she leapfrogged Stacy Lewis on the final day and became the youngest millionaire in LPGA history. Ko now has five LPGA titles.
Round of the day: Playing the 18th hole repeatedly in the playoff, Ciganda had the best chance to win on the third extra hole, but she missed her 5-foot birdie putt. On the next hole, she tugged her approach shot left into the hazard, took a drop and made bogey. Ko, meanwhile, two-putted from 30 feet for the par and win. Granada, vying for her first win in 183 starts, made bogey on the second extra hole to bow out early.
Best of the rest: Stacy Lewis didn’t win the year-end prize, but she still swept Player of the Year honors, the money title and Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average (69.53). She’s the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to win all three awards in the same season.
Biggest disappointment: World No. 1 Inbee Park never got it going this week in Naples, failing to break 70 all four rounds and finishing in a tie for 24th. As a result, she cost herself not just a chance for the $1 million bonus, but also Player of the Year honors.