Kim nails money putt

Orlando Sentinel - - WEATHER -

was Nelly Korda, who started one shot be­hind and fell back with a pair of costly drives to the left. From the top of a crown at the back of the green, Kim fig­ured a two-putt would be enough.

The crowd cheered. She pumped her fist and fought back tears.

Only later, she said, did she re­al­ize what it meant.

“Af­ter I made it, I saw the leader­board,” she said. “I didn’t know that Charley fin­ished at 17 [un­der]. What if I didn’t make it? We would have gone to a play­off, and that wouldn’t have been good for me. So, wow!”

Wow, in­deed.

Kim won for the 10th time in her LPGA ca­reer, join­ing Se Ri Pak (25), In­bee Park (19) and Jiyai Shin (11) as South Korean play­ers with at least 10 vic­to­ries.

This was mem­o­rable for the fin­ish — and the prize.

In­stead of a $500,000 first-place check and a $1 mil­lion bonus to a sea­son points race, CME Globe wanted to award $1.5 mil­lion in of­fi­cial money to any of the 60 play­ers who qual­i­fied for the sea­son fi­nale. That’s $500,000 more than the pre­vi­ous record prize, $1 mil­lion at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Kim fin­ished at 18-un­der 270 and was No. 2 on the LPGA money list be­hind Jin Young Ko, who tied for 11th and still had no com­plaints about her sea­son. Be­sides the money ti­tle, Ko won LPGA player of the year and the Vare Tro­phy for the low­est scor­ing av­er­age. She won four times this year, in­clud­ing two ma­jors.

“I gave it my best shot,” said Hull, who won $480,000 for be­ing run­nerup. She made $405,961 in her pre­vi­ous 21 events this year.

Korda, the high­est-ranked Amer­i­can who had a chance to get to No. 2 in the world with a vic­tory, tied for the lead with a birdie on the fourth hole. But she be­gan to fall back by fail­ing to birdie the par-5 sixth, scram­bling for bo­gey on No. 9 and mak­ing a care­less bo­gey on the 11th that put her three shots be­hind.

She birdied the last hole for a 71 to tie for third with Kang. Brooke Hen­der­son shot 67 and fin­ished in fifth.

Korda also had a great view of a putt that was worth $1.5 mil­lion — a dif­fer­ence of $1.02 mil­lion be­tween win­ning and sec­ond.

“To win $1.5 mil­lion by mak­ing that putt is quite amaz­ing,” Korda said. “She had to make that birdie to win. It was an amaz­ing cap off to the sea­son.”


LPGA play­ers Amy Yang and Jin Young Ko rush to cel­e­brate with Sei Young Kim af­ter she won the CME Group Tour Cham­pi­onship Sun­day at the Tiburón Golf Club in Naples.

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