LPGA: Jin Young Ko victorious in Tour Championship, overtakes Nelly Korda and wins Player of the Year

LPGA: Jin Young Ko victorious in Tour Championship, overtakes Nelly Korda and wins Player of the Year

NAPLES, Florida – The stakes were high and the odds would have seemed long to anyone except Jin Young Ko.

Her only chance to establish herself as the LPGA Player of the Year was to win the CME Group Tour Championship. In her path was Nelly Korda, the world’s No. 1 player. To top it all off, Ko’s left wrist was sore to the point that he only took full swings with a gap wedge on the practice field.

And then he gave an almost perfect performance.

Ko hit a birdie putt on each hole (in the final 63 holes at Tiburon, he did not miss a regulation green), hit a 30 in the first nine holes to gain control, and finished with a 9 under par 63 for the lap. lowest of the tournament and victory by one stroke on Sunday.

For the winner, they were impressive spoils.

Ko won the most lucrative award in women’s golf at $ 1.5 million and passed Korda for the largest LPGA award for Player of the Year.

“I can’t believe it,” Ko said about winning the tournament again.

Ko opened with a 25-foot birdie putt that looked as easy as a tap, and she was on her way. He hit an 8-foot grade 7 iron for a birdie on hole 3, went to the front definitively with a 10-foot wedge on the next hole, and didn’t even come close to a bogey.

He ended up winning by a hit over Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, who never got closer than two strokes in the second nine holes until his final hole birdie for a 64.

Ko couldn’t stop smiling on the 18th. green when she was presented with the crystal trophy for winning the tournament and a beach trophy for Player of the Year. The victory was worth $ 1.5 million. The award was worth even more to her.

“(I’m) so proud of myself,” Ko said. “Player of the Year, it’s great. I’d say Player of the Year is the best. It’s really hard to win Player of the Year, especially this year with Nelly.”

Korda’s big year of becoming a major tournament champion, Olympic gold medalist and reaching No. 1 in the world rankings ended with a thud. The 23-year-old American couldn’t keep up at the start and was never a factor when Ko pulled away in the second nine holes.

“It was the Jin Young Ko show today, and frankly, it was great to watch,” Korda said. “I relaxed and watched it all day.”

Korda, whose four wins this year included the Women’s PGA Championship, closed with a 69 and tied for fifth place., six strokes from the tip.

“I feel sad for Nelly,” Ko said. “But I was a little luckier than her.”

A little determination helped. Ko won the final tournament of the season for the second year in a row, and this required everything she had.

She started the final round in a four-way tie for the lead with Korda, Hataoka and Celine Boutier and quickly left everyone in the rearview mirror with four birdies over the opening six holes.

Hataoka tried to keep up with her early with a pair of birdies, but his odds were spoiled at the sixth par-5 hole. Ko was about 15 yards past the green and hit a wonderful shot leaving the ball within tap-in range for birdie. Hataoka was right on the green and sent a delicate shot into the sand trap, leading to bogey.

But she was the only one who challenged Ko. Hataoka earned $ 480,000 as a runner-up. She won $ 594,000 as a runner-up at the US Women’s Open.

Ko injured his left wrist for the first time in May, for what he described as too much practice. He kept playing and it got worse, saying earlier in the week that he might have retired had it not been the last tournament of the year.

That made the performance even more extraordinary. It seemed like it never failed.

Ko’s tee shot on the ninth hole on Thursday went to the bunker near the rim, and he was only able to hit the fairway with a bombshell, culminating in bogey. That was the last time he missed a green at Tiburon.

It was a relentless performance. Pick a target. It hit the blow. Then he let his pure putting stroke do the rest.

Lydia Ko sealed with a round of 64 to take the Vare trophy for lowest scoring average. Jin Young Ko and Korda have lower averages, but they don’t meet the required minimum of 70 rounds.

The South Korean star finished 23 under 265 for 12th. victory of his career. The LPGA Hall of Fame is their ultimate goal, which requires 27 points. She deserved one point for winning and one point for Player of the Year, giving her 17 points in just four years on the LPGA Tour.

It was a strong end to the year for Ko, who, along with her wrist injury, had to deal with the loss of her grandmother in the spring, which briefly left her in search of motivation.

She found it and in what way. Ko has won five of the last nine tournaments he has played on the LPGA Tour, becoming the first five-time winner on the LPGA Tour since 2016.

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win