Inbee Park’s historic season keeps on building.
With a 3-under-par 69 Sunday at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Park finished fourth, clinching the Rolex Player of the Year award to become the first South Korean to claim the honor.
Given the growing domination of South Koreans the last 15 years, even Park thought it remarkable she could become the first South Korean to win the LPGA’s top award.
“It feels great to be the first one to win,” Park said after her round. “That’s what I said all year, there should have been at least two or three girls that already won the award, but nobody really did it. It’s just really hard to believe, and I’m just very lucky I won.”
Unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA doesn’t decide it’s Player of the Year in a vote. It’s determined by points. With her finish Sunday, Park gained seven points, bumping her Rolex POY points total to 297 and mathematically eliminating Suzann Pettersen, who tied for fifth at Ochoa's event. Pettersen’s total moved to 258 points. A win in next week’s season finale at the CME Group Titleholders is worth 30 points.
Park and Pettersen were paired together in Sunday's final round.
Park made history in women’s golf in the first half of the season, becoming the first player since Babe Zaharias to win the first three major championships of the year. She joined Zaharias (1950), Mickey Wright (1961) and Pat Bradley (1986) as the only women to have won three majors in a single season.
Park has six LPGA titles overall this season, most on tour.