S. Korean Choi Na-yeon wins final LPGA event of year
Published : 2012-11-19 09:16
Updated : 2012-11-19 09:35
South Korean Choi Na-yeon overcame an early double bogey and held off compatriot Ryu So-yeon to win the final LPGA Tour event of the season in Florida on Sunday.
Choi captured the CME Group Titleholders at the TwinEagles Golf Club in Naples, Florida. She shot a final round of two-under 70 on the 7,634-yard layout for a four-round total of 14-under 274. The 25-year-old took home US$500,000 for her second win this year.
Ryu, the 2012 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year, also shot a 70 in the final round but ended two shots back of Choi in sole possession of second.
Choi clung to a one-stroke lead over Ai Miyazato of Japan to start the final round. As Miyazato stumbled with four bogeys on her first 10 holes en route to a 74, it became a two-horse race between the South Koreans playing in the same group.
Choi herself had a shaky start with a double bogey on the par-4 third, but erased that with an eagle on the par-5 fifth. She traded a birdie and a bogey on seventh and eighth to go out at 12-under.
Choi reached 13-under with a birdie on the par-3 12th, and Ryu pulled even with a birdie of her own on the par-5 13th.
Ryu dropped a shot on the very next hole, the par-5 14th, and Choi took a two-shot lead with a birdie on the 16th, a short par-4 playing at 275 yards in the final round.
Both players closed out with two straight pars as Choi claimed her seventh career LPGA win.
It capped off another strong year for Choi. She won her first career major at the U.S. Women's Open in July and set a single-season career high with $1.98 million in earnings.
"I enjoyed playing on this course, and I had fun playing with Ryu So-yeon and Ai Miyazato in the final group," Choi said. "I won my first major this season, and I closed it with a victory. I am looking forward to enjoying some downtime during the offseason."
Choi and Ryu were the only Koreans in the top 10.
Fellow Korean Park In-bee finished in a three-way tie for 11th at six-under, but that was good enough to secure the LPGA Tour's money title and the Vare Trophy for the tour's lowest scoring average.
Park is the third South Korean to win the LPGA money title and fourth to win the Vare Trophy. (Yonhap News)