Top-ranked Ko powers to victory in LPGA Tour Championship

MIAMI (AFP) – World number one Ko Jin-young pulled away from second-ranked Kim Sei-young with five back-nine birdies on Sunday to win the LPGA’s season-ending Tour Championship by five strokes.

Ko, who was playing just her fourth LPGA event of the pandemic-disrupted season, had only squeezed into the elite field with a tie for second at the United States (US) Women’s Open.

But the 25-year-old South Korean made the most of her opportunity, firing seven birdies in her six-under par 66 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.

She rolled in a final birdie at the 72nd hole for an 18-under total of 270 and a convincing win over Kim and Australian Hannah Green, who shared second on 275.

The USD1.1 million winner’s prize – down from USD1.5 million last year but still the biggest in women’s golf in 2020 – put Ko atop the money list for the year.

Her USD1.66 million in earnings in 2020 saw her top the USD5 million mark for her career.

Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays her shot from the 18th tee during the third round of the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida on December 19. PHOTO: AFP