|Inbee Park (Allison)|
BY FINISHING FOURTH IN THE LORENA OCHOA Invitational, world No. 1 Inbee Park mathematically secured Rolex Player of the Year honors. Park holds an insurmountable 39-point lead on Suzann Pettersen with one event remaining on the 2013 LPGA Tour schedule, this week’s CME Group Titleholders in Naples, Florida.
Park is the first South Korean to win the award.
“I said all year there should have been at least two or three girls [from South Korea] that already won the award, but nobody really did it,” Park said in an AFP story. “It’s just really hard to believe and I’m just very lucky I won.”
The world’s top-ranked female golfer for 32 weeks, Park shot a closing 69 at Guadalajara Country Club. Meanwhile, Lexi Thompson picked up her second win in a matter of weeks and her third career LPGA title. Edging runner-up Stacy Lewis by a stroke, Thompson, 18, shot a final-round 69 to finish at 16-under par.
Park has six victories in 2013, including the year’s first three majors: the Kraft Nabisco Championship, LPGA Championship and U.S. Womesn’ Open. Pettersen and Lewis will finish second and third, respectively, in the player of the year points race.
The order is reversed in the competition for the Vare Trophy, which goes to the player with the lowest stroke average. Lewis leads at 69.483, followed by Pettersen at 69.587 and Park at 69.900. The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award is also up for grabs heading into the final tournament.