Naples - New Zealand teen Lydia Ko edged
South Korean Park In-Bee for LPGA Player of the Year and season points honours
on Sunday while American Cristie Kerr captured the season-ending Tour
Multiple tour trophies, the world number
one ranking and the title itself came down to dramatic final-hole tests.
Ko, the 18-year-old defending champion of
the event and last year's $1 million season points chase, fired a par 72 to
finish on 11-under 277 and share seventh, just enough to hold off Park -- who
fired a 69 to finish sixth on 276 - and stay world number one.
"The hole was smaller than the ball
today," Ko said. "A lot of lip outs, a lot of close ones. I tried my
best. It could have been worse. I made a couple clutch 3-footers for
Kerr's final-round 68 left her on 17-under
par 271, one stroke in front of compatriot Gerina Piller and South Korean
rookie Jang Ha-Na. American Lexi Thompson was fourth on 274 with France's
Karine Icher fifth on 275.
Ko answered a bogey at the third with a
birdie at the par-3 fifth and birdied the par-3 17th before a closing lip-out
bogey that left her uncertain about her status until her sister greeted her
with news of her rewards that sparked tears of joy.
"What triggered it more was what kind
of tough day it was," Ko said. "I tried to stay patient all day. Even
the lip out at the end, it was a long year. I went through every kind of
emotion out there.
"Quite exciting, even to the last
Ko joined Sweden's Annika Sorenstam and
Americans Beth Daniel and Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to
follow a Rookie of the Year season with a Player of the Year campaign.
Park edged Ko for the Vare Trophy for
season low scoring average and that achievement pushed her across the line for
qualification into the LPGA Hall of Fame, although she must wait one more year
to have played the minimum 10 seasons for induction.
Ko had a chance to overtake Park for the
Vare Trophy on the final hole but could not hole her second shot from the
fairway, coming up just short of the green.
The Kiwi then had three shots to get down
to secure Player of the Year and needed all three after missing a seven-footer
That left the stage to the players at the
top of the leader board, with 38-year-old Kerr sinking a 15-foot eagle putt at
17 to seize a one-stroke lead but Jang made birdie to stay within one shot
entering the final hole.
But Kerr, the oldest woman to win on tour
this year, sank a tension-packed two-footer for par and took her 18th career
"I still can't believe it," Kerr
said. "What a day."
Leading scores after Sunday's final round of the LPGA Tour Championship (par 72, USA unless noted):
271 - Cristie Kerr 68-69-66-68
272 - Gerina Piller 68-70-67-67, Jang Ha-Na (KOR) 69-65-69-69
274 - Lexi Thompson 70-69-67-68
275 - Karine Icher (FRA) 71-67-68-69
276 - Park In-Bee (KOR) 71-69-67-69
277 - Sydnee Michaels 72-71-69-65, Minjee Lee (AUS) 75-66-67-69, Amy Yang (KOR) 72-69-67-69, Lydia Ko (NZL) 69-67-69-72
278 - Jennifer Song 68-69-72-69, Brittany Lincicome 68-70-68-72
279 - Brooke M. Henderson (CAN) 72-71-70-66
- Lin Xi Yu (CHN) 74-69-69-68, Suzann Pettersen (NOR) 71-70-69-70, Park
Hee-Young (KOR) 71-69-70-70, Austin Ernst 66-73-71-70, Ai Miyazato
281 - Ryann O'Toole 72-69-73-67, Ji Eun-Hee (KOR) 72-69-71-69, IK Kim (KOR) 69-71-70-71, Jenny Shin (KOR) 71-69-69-72
282 - Kim Sei-Young (KOR) 68-71-71-72
- Anna Nordqvist (SWE) 71-75-68-69, Paula Creamer 70-73-71-69, Catriona
Matthew (SCO) 70-69-74-70, Karrie Webb (AUS) 70-72-70-71, Jessica Korda