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CME Group Tour Championship

Round 4 - Kerr wins CME Group Tour Championship

November 22, 2015

Cristie Kerr earns 18th victory at the CME Group Tour Championship. Starting the day with a share of the 54-hole lead, Kerr posted a final round 4-under, 68 to win by one stroke at 17-under par.

"It's pretty cool. It's a lot of different honors," said Kerr. "That's what the year end is about. It feels pretty cool to win the last tournament of the year."

The overnight and morning rain delayed the start of play by one hour. Kerr got off to a slow start, making par on her first eight holes before making back-to-back birdies on the 9th and 10th holes.

"Didn't seem like a whole lot was going my way early. All of a sudden at the end, I was there when I needed to be," Kerr said.

She made birdie at the par 4, 15th to stay in the hunt and move back into a share of the lead with Ha Na Jang at 15-under par.

"I knew that I was leaving putts short and I knew I had to get it there," Kerr told the media. "When it left my putter and it was going towards the hole, I've had so many that were in the heart of the hole that I left a foot short this week. It just kept going and I was like get there, get there, get there. It went in and I was like, this was the first bit of momentum I've had almost all day."

Kerr closed out the tournament at the reachable par 5, 17th, draining a long putt for eagle to take the outright lead heading to the final hole. It was Kerr’s second victory of the season after the Kia Classic in March.

Ha Na Jang and Gerina Piller finished T-2 at 16-under par. Lexi Thompson finished fourth at 14-under par after being in contention for most of the day.

More cash flow for Ko:
Lydia Ko clinched the $1 million bonus check for winning the Race to the CME Globe for the second year in a row. Last year, Ko said she didn’t have plans to make any splurges except buying her mom a purse and said she still doesn’t have any big purchases on her mind. Except for one thing.

“No, no. Maybe to pay the tax of the Kia car I got,” said Ko. “I don’t know. I didn’t really think about it. Especially the last on the weekend and the last couple of days, the top 9, we were all playing good golf. We were all in position where we could make that $1 million become ours. Just even until the last moment, you never know who was going to get it. It could have been Inbee, Stacy or whatever. I never really had a moment to think about it. Now we can think about it.”

Ko was given a 2016 Kia Sorento earlier this week for winning the Kia Drive to the Top for most top 10’s this season. When she thinks about off-season plans, she’ll have plenty of cash to buy the food she hopes to enjoy.

“He said what is the first thing and most important thing you are going to do in Korea,” said Ko. “I said I’m going to eat a lot of food. If I look like I gained a lot of weight in my first event back, you guys can’t say anything. I’ll eat. That’s why I train so I can eat. So it’s a good balance.”

Ko gets another youngest title - Rolex Player of the Year:
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.

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.

“I thought the youngest everything was Lydia. I’m doing something youngest. I don’t feel that young after playing with Lydia all year. It feels great to hear that I’m still young. ”

-Inbee Park on becoming the youngest ever to fulfill the 27 point qualification for the LPGA Hall of Fame

“I think it’s huge...I think we can’t thank the men and women of this country who go in service to protect us, especially in this day and age with everything going on around us. We have to do everything we can to say thank you and this is just a small part of it. I’m just very happy that it’s a part of not only this tournament but the Tour’s initiatives.”

-Cristie Kerr on the Wounded Warrior Weekends project spearheaded by CME and the LPGA that donated $300,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project

Another close call for Piller:
Gerina Piller played her heart out on the final nine holes of the 2015 season, but came up just short of her first LPGA title. Piller birdied five of her last six holes but it wasn’t enough. Cristie Kerr eagled the 17th hole to take a two-shot lead and made par at No. 18 to secure the one-shot victory. Piller said she’ll find plenty of positives to take away from this week.

“I was. I started out well,” said Piller. “Obviously I birdied the first hole. Then it just kind of fizzled out. But I felt that I just kept telling myself how much I believe in myself and much of a good player I am, that I could still do this. With six holes to play, to birdie five out of six, I’m pretty pleased.”

Piller had her best season on Tour yet this year and finished 18th on the Official Money List. She knows she’s on an upward trajectory and has her sights set on getting win No. 1 in 2016.

“I think we all know that, it’s a big win,” said Piller. “I think that I’m just going to carry this over to next year. Before I had doubt that I didn’t know if I had it to win, but now I’m all in.”

Solid finish for rookie Jang:
Ha Na Jang tallied a final round 69 to finish a mere stroke behind Cristie Kerr at the CME Group Tour Championship.

“It was like a perfect round for Cristie Kerr today,” Jang said. “I was just looking at Cristie Kerr every hole like ‘wow, wonderful, great’.” She was really nice playing today. She did not miss today. Perfect round.” Jang had quite the rookie season on the LPGA Tour with four runner-up finishes and $883,032 earned.

“It was a perfect rookie season this year but just came a little short,” Jang said. “It’s ok. It’s fine. I’m very young. I’m only 23-years old right now. It’s no problem.”

Donation made to Wounded Warrior Project:
Three players carded eagles on the final Sunday of the 2015 season to push the season-long total to $286,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project®. The LPGA has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project® for the past two seasons through the Wounded Warrior Project Weekends.

CME Chairman and President Terry Duffy rounded up the total donation to $300,000 and presented a check at the closing ceremony on the 18th green to four Wounded Warriors in attendance.

Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group has donated $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. The amount was raised to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship

In 2014, $283,000 had been raised through eagles made by Tour players and the CME Group generously rounded up to $300,000.


DATES:  November 19-22
SITE:  Tiburón Golf Club
PRIZE MONEY: $ 2,000,000
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