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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 CME Group Tour Championship

Winner: Lydia Ko

Around the wider world of golf: Mardan Mamat won the Resorts World Manila Masters on the Asian Tour; Hideki Matsuyama won the Dunlop Phoenix Open on the Japan Tour; Henrik Stenson successfully defended his title at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on the ET; Nick Cullen won the BetEasy Masters on the Australasian Tour; amateur Ssu-Chia Cheng won the Xiamen Open on the LET; and Sakura Yokomine won the ElleAir Ladies Open on the JLPGA (the Constructivist has details).

Lydia Ko with trophies

Sunday the Kobra struck and struck hard... but if we're honest, it appears that no one really expected it.

Going into the CME Group Tour Championship the big buzz was around Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park, the two leaders in... well, in just about everything. Lewis and Park were expected to duel it out down the stretch for:
  • the tournament title,
  • the $1mil CME Race to the Globe,
  • the money title,
  • the scoring title (aka the Vare Trophy), and
  • the Rolex Player of the Year Award.
Lewis and Park were 1 and 2, respectively, in just about every category. There was also some talk about Michelle Wie, at 4 in the Race to the Globe, perhaps winning the tournament and the big bucks.

Nobody was talking about Lydia Ko at all.

The big battle never materialized. Both Lewis and Park struggled, although Lewis did enough to win the money title, Vare Trophy, and POY Award. Those were the ones she said were most important to her, and she did make history by winning all three -- the first American to do so since Betsy King way back in 1993.

Wie managed to get herself in position to win the tournament and the money but just didn't have enough juice to get it done. In fact, none of the Top9 who had the potential to take it all seemed able to mount a charge...

All except the Kobra, that is. She not only played well enough to lock up the Globe, she clearly had her sights on the tournament victory as well. She, Julieta Granada (who had won the old ADT Tour Championship with the $1mil first prize), and Carlota Ciganda (with no LPGA victories but three on the LET) finished in a tie and went to a playoff.

Granada faltered on the second playoff hole when her par putt barely slipped by, and Ciganda's nerves apparently got to her with a bad approach on the fourth playoff hole. The Kobra, by comparison, put her tee shots in basically the same spot each time down... and the same on her approach shots. Her final birdie putt stopped a mere inch or two short of the cup, giving her the title and $1.5mil.

Only the Top3 points getters got bonus money. They were:
  1. Lydia Ko, with $1mil
  2. Stacy Lewis, with $150k
  3. Michelle Wie, with $100k
And Lydia set a number of records this season. Among them, she became the youngest Rookie of the Year in LPGA history. She also continues to rewrite the record books for the youngest multiple tournament winner ever on any tour. The PGA Tour's youngest one-time winner is 19 years old; the LPGA has one other ont-time winner at 18. Lydia has 5 LPGA wins and she's still just 17!

So now Lydia can head back to New Zealand for a well-deserved rest. But before she goes, I hope she takes time to pack a Limerick Summary along with all her other prizes!
She’s something that golf’s never seen
With five wins—but she’s not yet eighteen!
Though too young for a beer,
Ko’s top rookie this year
Plus she ran off with all of the green!
The photo came from this photo page at

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