NAPLES, Fla. — U.S. Women’s Open champion Na Yeon Choi won the Titleholders on Sunday to turn a great season into her best one yet.
Locked in a battle with So Yeon Ryu along the back nine, Choi pulled away with a wedge that had to hit a tiny spot on an elevated green with three tiers. It came off perfectly, spun to 3 feet for birdie and Choi took it from there. She closed with two pars for a 2-under 70 and a two-shot victory.
The 25-year-old from South Korea won for the second time this year, and she captured the two biggest paychecks on the LPGA Tour. She won $500,000 at the Titleholders, pushing her season earnings to a career-best $1.9 million.
Ryu, honored this week as the LPGA Rookie of the Year, hit 3-wood into about 25 feet for a two-putt birdie on the 13th to tie for the lead. But on the next hole, she didn’t account for the wind making her 30-foot birdie putt faster than it looked. The putt went some 6 feet by the hole, and a three-putt bogey cost her a share of the lead. She never caught up.
Brittany Lincicome also closed with a 70 at The TwinEagles Club to finish alone in third. Karrie Webb had a 69 to finish another shot behind.
Inbee Park was never in the hunt, though she still felt plenty of pressure in the final LPGA Tour event of the year. She needed to make sure she didn’t stumble in the final round to capture the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average, and she handled that with ease. Park had a 70, while Stacy Lewis had a 74.
Lewis is the first American since 1994 to be LPGA Player of the Year. Park took the Vare Trophy and money title, the only woman to earn more than $2 million this year.
Sunday, however, belonged to Choi.
“I’m really happy with how I played this season," Choi said. “I won my first major and even this tournament is very big for me. I think I can have even bigger expectations now and think I deserve it."
Scott rallies to win at home
MELBOURNE, Australia — Adam Scott shot a 5-under 67 to win the Australian Masters in his native country for his first victory of the year. Ian Poulter shot a 72 and finished second, four strokes behind the winner.
Jimenez takes Hong Kong
HONG KONG — Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest European Tour winner by shooting a 5-under 65 to capture his third Hong Kong Open title. At 48 years and 318 days, the Spaniard surpassed the previous record set by Ireland’s Des Smyth, who was 48 years and 34 days when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open. Jimenez finished at 15-under, one shot ahead of Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden, who closed with a bogey-free 64.
Stenson tops in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG — Henrik Stenson shot a 71 for a 17-under total of 271 to win the European Tour’s South African Open and end a three-year title drought. George Coetzee was second at 14 under.
Gainey wins Pebble Beach
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tommy Gainey birdied No. 18 for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke victory in the Pebble Beach Invitational. Kirk Triplett and William McGirt tied for second in the tournament that featured players from the PGA, LPGA, Champions and Web.com tours.