Jin Young Ko wins CME Group Tour Championship, banks $1.5 million, wins LPGA Player of the Year

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Jin Young Ko shot a final-round bogey-free 63 to win the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship and in the process, LPGA Player of the Year honors.

Oh, and she banked a first-place check for $1.5 million, the largest payday on the LPGA.

Four players—Ko, Nelly Korda, Nasa Hataoka and Celine Boutier—started the final round tied atop the leaderboard at Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.

On the ninth hole, Ko drained a 30-footer for birdie to get to 20 under for the week to give her a four-shot lead. Hataoka cut the lead to two after she birdied the 10th. Up just one shot on 11, Ko made another long birdie putt to get to 21 under, pushing her back out in front by two shots. Another birdie on 13 made it a three-shot advantage. One more birdie on 17, her ninth of the day, got her to 23 under and sealed the deal.

Only Ko and Korda had a shot at the Player of the Year award, with Korda starting the week with a 10-point lead. Ko’s fifth win this season vaulted her back to the top. It’s the second straight CME title for her, as well.

Ko, 26, now has 12 LPGA victories, tying her with Sei Young Kim and Ariya Jutanugarn on the all-time list. The CME was her 81st LPGA start. The $1.5 million prize pushes her past $9 million in her career. At $9,102,985, Ko now checks in at No. 26 on the LPGA’s all-time money list.

Hataoka finished 21 under and was solo second. Mina Harigae and Boutier tied for third at 18 under.

Korda was attempting to win her fifth event of the season. Juli Inkster in 1999 was the last American on the LPGA to win five times in a season. Korda tied for fifth along with Megan Khang and Minjee Lee.

Lexi Thompson was solo eighth at 16 under. Lydia Ko shot a final-round 64 and tied for ninth along with In Gee Chun and Gabby Lopez at 15 under.