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Inbee Park didn’t win at Lorena’s place–that honor went to Lexi Thompson, on whom more in a sec–but her solo 4th was good enough to clinch 2013 Player of the Year. On the strength of 3 major victories and 6 in all–and just enough good finishes down the stretch–she held off Suzann Pettersen and Stacy Lewis, becoming the 1st South Korean to ever win LPGA POY. Huge congratulations to Inbee!
Sakura Yokomine won the JLPGA money list in 2009, her 6th season on tour, after 4 straight seasons in which she finished between 2nd and 4th. She followed it up with another 2nd and 4th as Sun-Ju Ahn came to the JLPGA from the KLPGA and absolutely dominated it, then had the worst season of her career since her rookie year in 2012, falling to 11th on the money list. With her win yesterday, however, she gave herself a great chance to take the 2013 money title. Her 4th win of the season and 22nd of her career have helped bring her to #2 on the tour’s career money list, with maybe about half a season before she becomes the tour’s 2nd-ever billion-yen woman, after living legend Yuri Fudoh. Congratulations to Sakura on her win! Let’s see if we have more to congratulate her for in a couple of weeks when the JLPGA’s season comes to a close.
Over on the KLPGA, young guns Ha Na Jang and Hyo Joo Kim divvied up just about all the tour’s season-ending awards between them. Jang took the money list title and Player of the Year, while Kim had low scoring average and was the Rookie of the Year. They had some great competition among themselves and in Sei Young Kim and In Gee Chun, so keep an eye on them in majors for years to come. They’ve got the same kind of wunderkind vibe that Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn carry so well. And a certain young American….
Lexi–what can you say but wow? With her 3rd career LPGA victory, she’s passed In-Kyung Kim in my ranking of those who started their LPGA careers between 2005 and the present, moving into the #9 spot. She’s now got the 4th-highest winning percentage in that group, behind only Ji-Yai Shin, Ya Ni Tseng, and Stacy Lewis. She’s established herself as Class of 2012 leader So Yeon Ryu’s chief rival. And she’s done it all before she turned 19. Is it any wonder there’s speculation about when–not if–she’ll become world #1? Congrats to Lexi on her win! Can’t wait to see how she handles herself as one of the favorites at the CME Titleholders!
Finally, a belated congratulations to Cristie Kerr in closing. True, she didn’t come close to defending her title at Lorena’s place, but she did pass her this season on the LPGA career money list and recently crossed the $15M mark in career winnings. Congrats to Cristie on breaking this historic barrier, a feat that only Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb before her had accomplished!