Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire can look forward to Christmas and another year on the LPGA Tour after finishing down the board at the CME Group Tour Championship that saw world number one Jin Young Ko rise to the top in Florida.
Jordanstown professional Meadow signed off on a superb campaign with an even par round of 72 for a share of 38th spot. The 28-year old traded three birdies and three bogeys to sign off her season under-par and bank $10,782 for the effort. Having achieved her goal at the start of the year of reaching the top-60 Tour Championship, Meadow can take a lot of confidence into next season after her most successful spell on the LPGA Tour to date.
Cavan professional Maguire was one-under par through seven holes and three-under for the tournament before a bogey at 8 triggered a run of three further bogeys and a double in her next five holes as she fell to three-over par. Birdies at 14 and 15 typified Maguire’s fighting spirit and she eventually posted a three-over par 75 for a plus-one tally and a cheque worth $8,129.
The week belonged to Jin Young Ko, however, who missed most of the LPGA Tour season and still won the yearlong money title. That’s what a $1.1 million check does. Ko fired a brilliant six-under par 66 to race clear by five strokes over Hannah Green and Sei Young Kim.
“I still can’t believe it, that I’m here, that I won this tournament,” Ko said. With a birdie on the final hole, the LPGA’s final putt of the season, Ko finished at 18 under for her seventh career LPGA win.
Kim, who took a one-shot lead into the final round, shot 72 and that was good enough for her to clinch Rolex Player of the Year honours. Danielle Kang won the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average: “Feels like a pretty solid accomplishment in 2020, to be honest,” Kang said.
The win wrapped up a wire-to-wire year in the No. 1 spot for Ko, who has held the ranking since July 29, 2019. She moved to $5,600,824 in career earnings, making her the 71st player in LPGA history to cross the $5 million mark. Sunday’s win and a cheque for $487,286 for finishing second in last week’s U.S. Women’s Open helped push her season earnings to $1,667,925. That would have been good for fifth-best on tour last season, when each of the 21 leading money-winners all appeared in at least 20 events.
Sunday marked the end to the 18-event LPGA season that was cut almost in half by the pandemic and was shut down for 5 1/2 months from mid-February through the end of July. Next season is scheduled for 34 events, starting with the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, from Jan. 21-24.
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