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Ko clinches Rolex Player of the Year, Park takes Vare Trophy

November 22, 2015

NAPLES, Fla., November 22, 2015 – Lydia Ko wrapped up an impressive 2015 season in style winning the Rolex Player of the Year award by a mere two points over Inbee Park. With the victory, Ko becomes the youngest winner in the 49 year history of the award.

“At the start of the week, I would say the biggest trophy that would mean a lot to me would be the Rolex Player of the Year,” Ko said.. “I’m so thankful to my team. I’m still emotional."

In her sophomore season on Tour, Ko had five victories (ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, The Evian Championship and Fubon LPGA Taiwan) giving her 10 for her career and making her the youngest player in golf history to reach 10 wins. Additionally, Ko has amassed an impressive 12 additional top-10 finishes in her 24 tournaments.

Ko held off a late-season charge from Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park to claim the award. She entered this week’s season- ending CME Group Tour Championship leading Park by just three points in the Rolex Player of the Year race and ended up besting Park by a mere two points. Ko wrapped up the award with a solid CME Group Tour Championship where she finished in a tie for seventh at 11-under par.

In addition to winning the Rolex Player of the Year, the New Zealander won the LPGA Money Title and her second consecutive Race to the CME Globe Title taking home the season ending $1 million bonus.

Youngest MVP/Player of the Year (4 Major Sports, LPGA and PGA Tour):
•LPGA - Lydia Ko (18)
•NBA – Derrick Rose (22)
•MLB - Stan Musial, Johnny Bench and Vida Blue (22)
•NHL – Wayne Gretzky (19)
•NFL – Jim Brown (21)
•PGA – Tiger Woods (21)

Park claims Vare Trophy for second time; now eligible for LPGA Hall of Fame:
The battle for the prestigious Vare Trophy came down to the final round of the year at the CME Group Tour Championship. Inbee Park clinched her second career scoring average title on Sunday after closing with a final round 3-under 69 and finished with a 69.41 scoring average for the year. Lydia Ko needed to beat Park this week in Naples by two shots but finished at 277, 11-under par and one shot behind Park with a 69.44 final scoring average. It’s Park’s second Vare Trophy title and first since 2012.

“The trophy, that sounds really good,” said Park. “Being the last point to achieve all the points for the Hall of Fame, it’s even more special. I mean, it is special as it is, but it just makes it much better. Obviously such a prestigious award. I’ve gotten it before. I know how it feels like. I know how hard it is to get it. It’s been a long Race this year. I’m not going back with nothing in my hands, so that’s great.”

Clinching the honor also gave Park her 27th and final point toward the LPGA Hall of Fame qualification criteria. Players must be active members for 10 seasons to be eligible and Park will enter her 10th season next year in 2016.

“Coming to today, I knew that I needed one point to wrap up the season,” said Park. “Not to think about a million dollars or the Player of the Year or the Vare Trophy, my focus was really getting the 27 points. Just being able to get what I really wanted, I shouldn’t be asking for more. I could have done a little bit better with a couple short putt misses. This has been a heck of a season this season. I’m really satisfied with it.”

Park finished another historic season this year which included two major championship victories and five wins overall. She won her third-consecutive KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and completed the Career Grand Slam at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She also held the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for a total of 24 weeks in 2015.

 





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