(Reuters) – Britain’s Charley Hull won the LPGA season-ending CME Group Tour Championship with a two-shot swing at the 17th hole on Sunday, while Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand clinched a million-dollar bonus and Player of the Year honors.
Hull fired a bogey-free six-under-par 66 to out duel playing partner Ryu So-yeon of South Korea (67) at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, posting a tournament record 19-under total of 269 to claim the $500,000 top prize for her first LPGA Tour win.
The Briton was tied with Ryu on 18-under heading to the penultimate hole where 20-year-old Hull birdied the par five, while Ryu took a bogey after having to hit out sideways from a greenside bunker.
Jutanugarn, a five-time winner this season, shot 69 to finish in a tie for fourth at 14-under-par and claim $1 million for winning the Race to the CME Globe bonus.
The Thai also clinched Player of the Year honors ahead of world number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who posted a final-round 72 for 11-under 277.
Ko came up empty in the season finale as Rookie of the Year Chun In-gee of South Korea closed with three birdies to nudge ahead of her to win the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average with 69.583 to 69.596.
The New Zealander had looked poised for a sweep after vaulting into a three-shot lead after posting a tournament record 10-under 62 in the second round.
“When she shot like 10-under, I feel like ‘OK, have fun.’ I think she going to win everything, that’s what I feel,” said a beaming Jutanugarn, 20, after being presented with a plexiglass box stuffed with $1 million.
Hull played with great poise and later revealed a key to maintaining her composure.
“I was pretty calm,” the Englishwoman said. “When I’m on the golf course I’m trying not to think about golf. And that’s what I just did today and it kind of made me not think I was leading the golf tournament, so it’s good.”
Ryu said he would not be too hard on herself after the near miss.
“I just really don’t want to blame myself,” she said. “I just take this one as just serendipity, you know.”
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford)