NAPLES, 19 Nov 2018:
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn won US$1 million and a clutch of LPGA Tour honours as Lexi Thompson closed out the season with a four-stroke victory at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida yesterday.
Ariya wrapped up the Race to the CME Globe and accompanying US$1 million bonus that goes to the season-long scoring leader with a six-under 66 to tie for fifth in the tournament, six strokes behind Thompson.
The world number one also captured player of the year award and the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average on tour.
“I am really proud of myself,” Ariya said. “The first three rounds I couldn’t play golf at all because I was thinking about everything too much. Today I didn’t think about that, like never, so I did a pretty good job today.”
The winner of the US Women’s Open and two other tournaments this year, Ariya briefly lost the Globe lead but rallied to claim the big prize with birdies on the 10th, 11th and 14th holes before closing out her round with two more.
Thompson, last year’s Globe winner, shot a two-under 70 to rebound from a heartbreaking loss at the 2017 tournament and secure her first title of the season.
The victory continued the Florida resident’s streak of winning at least one tournament for a sixth consecutive year.
She finished at 18-under 270 to defeat fellow American Nelly Korda, who shot a final-round 71 for second place.
“It’s very gratifying,” Thompson said. “This is such a special event for me growing up in Florida. It is so special to win in front of my family and friends.
“After this year, it has been a little up and down but to end it like this is very special.”
Thompson had a chance to win the tournament last year, but missed a short putt on the final hole to give Ariya the title.
American Brittany Lincicome (67) and South Korean Ryu So-yeon (68) tied for third at 13-under, while Ariya, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (68), American Marina Alex (69) and Spaniard Carlota Ciganda (70) shared fifth a shot further back.