Jin Young Ko cemented her status as world No 1 by cruising to a five-stroke victory at the LPGA Tour’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
CME Group Tour Championship
The Korean only made four starts on the LPGA Tour this season due to the coronavirus pandemic and needed a runner-up finish at last week’s US Women’s Open just to qualify for the final event of the year, where she took full advantage to register a seventh LPGA Tour title.
Ko birdied five of her last seven holes on her way to a final-round 66 at Tiburon Golf Club, taking her to 18 under and pulling her clear of nearest challengers Hannah Green and defending champion Sei Young Kim.
Beginning the final round a shot off the pace, Ko followed an eight-foot birdie at the first by picking up a shot at the sixth, where Kim bounced back from a previous-hole bogey to also take advantage of the par-five.
Ko recovered from bogeying the ninth to post three straight birdies from the 12th and move ahead, with a birdie at the par-three 16th and another at the par-five last extending her winning margin.
LPGA Tour Golf
December 21, 2020, 3:00pm
Kim had held the overnight lead but could only manage a level-par 72 on the final day, mixing three birdies with as many bogeys, while Green joined her in a share of second after a bogey-free 67.
Mina Harigae claimed fourth spot ahead of former world No 1 Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson, who saw her run of seven consecutive seasons with at least one LPGA Tour victory come to an end after a winless 2020.
A three-putt double-bogey at the par-three 16th left Georgia Hall posting a level-par 72 and dropping back into tied-seventh, with Brooke Henderson and Austin Ernst also finishing eight strokes back on 10 under.
Charley Hull ended the week on seven under after dropping three shots over the final three holes and signing for a final-round 74, with the Englishwoman one of six players claiming a share of 13th.
The 2021 LPGA Tour season will begin at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions from January 21-24, held at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club in Orlando, Florida.
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