Redemption for Lexi as Jutanugarn completes sweep

News & Tour

Lexi Thompson and Ariya Jutanugarn were the big winners in a thrilling finale to the LPGA Tour season. Keel Timmins wraps up the action

Lexi Thompson put to bed her demons from last year by putting in a dominant performance to stroll to the CME Group Tour Championship title at Tiburon Golf Club.

Twelve months ago, Thompson faced a two-foot putt on the final green to take the tournament to a play-off with Ariya Jutanugarn. She made a poor stroke, pushing the ball to the point that it didn’t even touch the hole.

The 23-year-old has since endured perhaps the worst season of her career, compounded with off-course troubles, but she made amends on Sunday by putting in a master-class around the Greg Norman layout to win by four to fellow American Nelly Korda.

Thompson began the final round with a three stroke lead, but nerves didn’t seem to play much of a factor, opening with a birdie as she went in search of her 10th LPGA Tour title.

Her approach shot at the 4th hole spun back into the water, but she was able to get up-and-down for bogey to remain three ahead of Korda.

Further birdies came at the 8th, 13th and 17th, and a stunning approach into the final green led to just par – it wouldn’t matter, as Thompson sealed a comfortable victory, extending her run of consecutive seasons with at least one win to six.

“The last few years it’s been a very up and down two years,” Thompson said.

“A lot of ups, but just some stuff I’ve been going through. To have this special win in front of all my family and friends out there and to have my brother on the bag, it was a huge honour for me to win this event, but just very special.”

Korda finished in 2nd, while Brittany Lincicome and So Yeon Ryu shared 3rd place.

Clean sweep for Jutanugarn

It’s been an incredible year for Ariya Jutanugarn, and with a T5 at the CME Group Tour Championship, the 22-year-old swept the end-of-season awards.

The World No. 1 had already clinched the Player of the Year and the Annika Major Award, but her Sunday 66 in Florida – what proved to be the low round of the day – sealed the year-long Race to the CME Globe, holding off a charge from Brooke Henderson to secure the $1 million bonus prize.

Jutanugarn was also battling with Minjee Lee and Jin Young Ko for the Vare Trophy, the award honouring the player with the lowest scoring average, and the Thailand star’s average of 69.42 was enough to beat Lee, who finished 37th in the season finale.

And not a bad way in which to receive your winnings, either…

Upcoming

The 2019 LPGA Tour schedule will be announced next week.

Meanwhile, the Ladies European Tour conclude their season in Spain this week at the Andalucia Open de Espana, where Azahara Munoz will be going for her third straight title in her home country.

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