Lydia Ko capped a huge season by claiming the biggest prize on the LPGA and setting yet another record.
Ko hit the $1 million jackpot when she won the tour’s inaugural Race to the CME Globe in Sunday’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship before taking part in a three-way playoff. Four extra frames later, the 17-year-old from New Zealand picked up another $500,000 by outlasting Carlota Ciganda for the victory.
Unbelievable. So happy for @Lko424. Now put that bottle of champagne in the cellar for another four years! https://t.co/cIp4qK4KRE— Chad Coleman (@HashtagChad) November 23, 2014
The fifth time was the charm for Ko, who beat Ciganda on her fifth trip of the day to the 18th hole. Ciganda missed a five-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole and the next time around pulled her approach shot into the hazard. Forced to take a drop, the eventual runner-up made bogey while Ko two-putted from 30 feet for her par and the W.
Ko, who earlier in the year became the youngest player to win Rookie of the Year honors, was the youngest LPGA golfer to record five wins. Her four-day total of 10-under par in regulation was enough to sew up the $1 million.
Ko entered the week ranked third in the world and in the Race standings and controlled her own destiny. Her flawless 4-under 68 in the final round brought her from three shots back to force the playoff with Ciganda and Julieta Granada. Four straight pars in overtime locked down the victory.
In addition to her other records, Ko this year became the youngest millionaire in LPGA history.
"When I saw that $1 million in the box, I was like, ‘Wow, I wonder who the winner of that will be?’" said Ko, who won three times in 2014. "It's amazing. I've never seen that much cash in one place before. This year has been awesome. Three wins, Rookie of the Year, it's a huge honor for me to be here in this position."