Former Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winners include LPGA Tour Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), current Solheim Cup captain Patty Sheehan (1981) and Juli Inkster (1984), as well as future LPGA Tour Hall of Fame members Annika Sorenstam (1994) and Karrie Webb (1996).
Natalie Gulbis, who is the second youngest youngest player on the LPGA Tour at 19, finished second in the points race.
Bauer tied for 18th at the Safeway Classic to finish with 772 points, 155 points ahead of Gulbis, marking the first time since 1995 that Americans finished first and second in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race.
Bauer's lead in the rookie race was so strong entering last week's Safeway Classic, that she could only have lost the honor if Gulbis won the tournament and she herself finished 37th or lower.
'Beth is a very talented player and a wonderful new addition to the LPGA Tour,' said LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw. 'Her performance this year demonstrates that she is most deserving of this honor, and this should be the start of a long and successful career.'