NAPLES, Florida. Lydia Ko has never won more in one day than on Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship, where she took home the richest $2 million prize in women’s golf and earned her the LPGA Player of the Year award.
Ko outplayed Ireland’s Leona Maguire in the final round, seizing control with a 7-foot birdie on the 16th hole and closing out 2 to 70 for a two-stroke win.
Unruffled by strong but rare winds, Ko wiped away her tears as she scored par in the final at the Tiburon Golf Club.
“There was a lot at stake today,” Ko said. “I really wanted to play the best golf I could. I knew it would be a tough fight, especially in tough conditions.”
Full CME Group Tour Championship Results
The $2 million prize boosted her seasonal earnings to just over $4.3 million, $591 less than Lorena Ochoa’s single-season earnings record set in 2007. Ko received the Rolex Player of the Year award for the second time. and she won the Vare Trophy for the second consecutive year for the lowest average.
The player of the year and Ware’s trophy, along with the win, are worth one point each, giving her 25 points instead of the 27 points needed to be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
The 25-year-old Kiwi, who tied with Maguire early in the final round, took the lead for the first time with a par-3 birdie on the eighth hole. Ko was still in the lead with one hit when she hit the tee just in front of the flag on the 16th pair of 3 and hit a 7-foot birdie.
Ko threw two shots from 25 feet for a par-5 birdie on the 17th to maintain a two-stroke lead until the last hole, and from there she played it safe.
Koh finished 17 to 271 to win the LPGA Tour Finals for the second time. Her first CME Group Tour championship title came in 2014 when she was 17 years old and already a dominant figure in women’s golf.
Ko is on the cusp of the LPGA Hall of Fame at the age of 25, which is a testament to how good she has been for so long.
“I’m glad the photo I won in 2014 wearing glasses can be updated,” Ko said.
She finishes the year with three wins – her first season with multiple wins since 2016 – and has finished in the top five nine more times.
Maguire’s hopes began to fade as she hit the fairway metal so thin on par-14 that it didn’t cross the hazard. She took a free jump, still couldn’t get to the green in the strong wind, and had to get up and down with a wedge to save the ghost.
Koh, however, landed her second blow from the hillside into the barrier, and she also made a scarecrow to maintain a one-shot lead.
Maguire shot 72 and finished second. It cost $550,000 out of a $7 million purse. Anna Nordqvist had 67 points to finish third.
In the off-season, Ko is going to get married. “This is my last solo tournament,” she said with a laugh during the presentation of the trophy.
She now has 19 career wins – the first was 10 years ago in Canada when she was a 15-year-old amateur, making her the youngest LPGA Tour winner.