Kim nails money putt
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!”
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.