A bizarre season on the LPGA Tour was granted some order on Sunday night as Jin Young Ko confirmed herself as the world No 1 when winning the richest first prize in female golf at the same time as taking the US money list title with just four starts.
Ko, who elected to miss three majors to remain in Korea during the pandemic, emphasised her dominance with a five-shot triumph in the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.
Remarkably, the 25-year-old only qualified for the season finale by finishing second at the previous week’s US Women’s Open, but from there, she capitalised by grasping the $1.1m winning cheque.
Ko revealed that her late surge in America came with an emotional sacrifice. “I had good rest in Korea since 10 months, and then I play just four events in US,” Ko said. “When I come back to US I felt really sad because my parents and friends, they are in Korea. Just I lived here by myself. But I practise hard and play hard in the last month.”
The 25-year-old began the final day at Tiburon Golf Club one behind compatriot Sei Young Kim. But as the world No 2 struggled to a 72, so Ko eased into victory mode, compiling a six-under 66. Kim and the Australian Hannah Green (67) were forced to settle for a tie for second.
England went into the last round with great hopes of Georgia Hall and Charley Hull both in contention. But despite getting to with two of the lead on the back nine, Hall, the 2018 Women’s Open champion, fell back with a double-bogey five on the 16th for a 72 and a share for seventh.
“I was the final group and there was no better place to be alongside the world No 1 and 2,” Ko said. “I wasn’t really nervous, handled the pressure pretty well and, yeah, just the more times I can keep putting myself in a position like that. So I’m happy. Jin was absolutely incredible. I’ve never seen a player play like her, to be honest.”
Hull, who won this title four years ago, closed with a 74 to finish in a tie for 13th.