Ko completes big day with playoff win at Tour Championship|
Naples, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Lydia Ko parred the fourth playoff hole on
Sunday to defeat Carlota Ciganda and win the CME Group Tour Championship.
Ko fired a final-round, 4-under 68 at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton
Golf Resort to finish regulation tied with Ciganda and Julieta Granada at 10-
under-par 278. Granada was eliminated on the second playoff hole when she
tripped to a bogey.
It was another win in an already incredible rookie season for Ko. The victory
is the fifth of Ko's career and third of the season. With the win, Ko also
captured the season-long Race to the CME Globe title and the $1 million prize.
"I really didn't think about it," Ko said about winning the Race to the CME
Globe. "Even playing today when I was out there I just set myself a goal to
make myself as many birdies, just go out there and have fun."
Ciganda, who shared the second-round lead with Granada, carded a 2-under 70
Sunday. Granada, who had at least a share of the lead after each of the first
three rounds, shot a 1-under 71 to end regulation tied with Ko and Ciganda.
Morgan Pressel was the next closest to the trio as she finished at 8-under 280
after a 72 Sunday. U.S. Women's Open champion Michelle Wie (70) and Sandra Gal
(72) ended tied for fifth.
World No. 2 Stacy Lewis (71) finished tied for ninth at 4-under 284. Lewis
came in second in the Race to the CME Globe. She also captured the Player of
the Year, the Vare Trophy and the season money title. The Vare trophy is
awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average on the season.
All four playoff holes were played on the par-4 18th hole, where the trio
returned at the conclusion of regulation play.
All three players found the fairway on the first playoff hole. Granada hit her
approach to the right side of the green. Ko did the same, but put her shot a
bit closer. Ciganda's approach came up short of the green, but she was able to
get up-and-down for par. Granada and Ko both two-putted for par to force a
second extra hole.
After all three found the fairway again, Granada rolled her approach through
the green and off the back, while Ko and Ciganda both found the green.
Granada's putt from off the green came up a few feet short and Ciganda and Ko
missed their birdie efforts.
While both Ko and Ciganda finished off their pars, Granada missed her short
par putt and made bogey, eliminating her from the playoff.
It appeared as if Ciganda would walk away with the title on the third playoff
hole when her approach settled about five feet from the hole and Ko was far
away on the right side of the green again. After Ko two-putted for par,
Ciganda just missed her birdie putt to the right and the duo headed to a
fourth extra hole.
Ko found herself in a familiar position on the fourth playoff hole when her
approach was hit to the right side of the green. Ciganda's approach was not as
successful, however, as she came up short of the green and her ball rolled
into a hazard right next to a bush near the water.
Ciganda could only chip her ball out to the left and knock it onto the green
with her fourth shot. From there, Ko nearly holed her long birdie putt, but
she tapped in for par to claim the title.
"This has been a big year, a roller coaster ride," Ko said. "I've learned so
much this year. These kind of playoffs, this is my first time as a
professional and I've been learning lots. I think next year is going to be
another fun year."
With a ton of pressure on her throughout the day, Ko remained calm and put
together a great round. After three straight pars to start the day, Ko rolled
in her first birdie on No. 4. Two holes later, Ko drained another birdie on
the par-5 sixth and added a third gain on the par-3 eighth. The birdie on
eight put Ko in the outright lead at minus-9.
Ko then rattled off four straight pars from nine before making her fourth
birdie on No. 13, putting her up by two strokes. While Ko closed out with five
straight pars to complete her bogey-free round, Ciganda and Granada used late
charges to catch her.
"I thought I'd be playing 72 holes but I played 76," Ko said. "I'm excited
that the season is over, but it's been great."
Ciganda, beginning the day one shot behind Granada, started strong with a
birdie, but she gave that shot right back with a bogey on two. Four holes
later, Ciganda traded another birdie on six with another bogey on seven,
dropping her out of a share of the lead.
The dropped shot on seven was Ciganda's last bogey. Following five straight
pars from eight and trailing Ko by two, Ciganda drained back-to-back birdies
on 13 and 14 to join her at minus-10.
Ciganda had a chance to take the lead on No. 17 when she had a short birdie
putt, but her ball just rolled by the hole and she settled for par. Ciganda
parred the last to end tied at 10-under.
Granada gave up her 1-shot lead quickly with a bogey on one, and she did not
get that shot back until five holes later when she birdied No. 6. Granada fell
a few shots off the pace when she made bogey on seven and nine, putting her
back to minus-7.
After starting he back nine with three straight pars from 10, Granada shot up
the leaderboard when she made a trio of birdies from 13 and just like that she
was tied with Ko and Ciganda. Three straight pars finished up Granada's round
at minus-10 as well.
NOTES: Ko also won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic and the Marathon Classic
earlier this season ... Ko beat out Lewis by 1,850 points in the Race to the
CME Globe ... Lewis became the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to win
the Player of the Year, the Vare Trophy and the official money title in the
same season ... Ko earned $500,000 on top of the $1 million prize with the win
... The 2014 LPGA Tour season has come to a close and the next event will be
the LPGA Tour Qualifying School tournament, which begins on Dec. 3.
11/23 19:21:43 ET