NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko left the CME Group Tour Championship Sunday focused more on what went right this year than what went wrong at season’s end.
Ko left feeling good about winning five times around the world, including her second major championship, and winning a silver medal in the Olympics.
She left trying not to be overly disappointed failing to claim any of the season-long awards up for grabs in Naples.
“I would love to be holding the Vare Trophy,” Ko said after tying for 10th at the Tour Championship. “It’s still been a very cool season for me.”
With her 10-under-par 62 Friday, Ko shot to the top of the leaderboard and was in position to sweep the year’s major awards. She was 1-over for the weekend. In the end, Ariya Jutanugarn left as the winner of the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the money-winning title.
“It’s been a really fun season, but Ariya played better,” Ko said. “When you play good and somebody plays better, you can’t do much about it. I think there are so many positives. I know that even though I’m not the one holding the trophy, Ariya is such a deserving winner, both of the Player of the Year and the Globe.”
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Ko, 19, was still in the running for the Vare Trophy walking to the 18th green Sunday, with her scoring average .001 better than In Gee Chun. But Ko missed a 15-foot birdie chance at the last, and Chun converted a 9-foot birdie putt, giving Chun the trophy.
The year turned sluggish for Ko after the Olympics. Ko’s last win came in July, at the Marathon Classic. She arrived this week having failed to record a top 10 in her last five starts, the longest she had gone without a top 10 since she began playing LPGA events as a 15-year-old amateur.
“I started with a bang,” Ko said. “I played really well and got the second major [ANA Inspiration] of my career. Just so many highs. The Olympics was the biggest goal of mine coming into this year. I got to compete in that and become a medalist. So many dreams came true.
“It may hurt right now what happened, but I still feel like it’s been an awesome season,” Ko said.