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17-year-old Ko takes home big prize

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Christina Kim doused Lydia Ko with champagne after Ko won the LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship on Sunday in a playoff.
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NAPLES, Fla. » New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko was an instant millionaire even before she went into a three-way playoff Sunday in the CME Group Tour Championship.

She finished off her rookie season in style.

Another victory. Another record. And the richest single-day payoff in the history of women’s golf.

Ko was flawless with a 4-under 68 that allowed her to capture the inaugural "Race to CME Globe" and its $1 million bonus. Then, the 17-year-old added an extra $500,000 to her big day when she won the Tour Championship with a par on the fourth playoff hole.

And to think just one year ago she made $16,063 in her pro debut at Tiburon Golf Club.

Her clothes drenched with champagne, she sat next to a pair of crystal trophies, with a glass case at her feet stuffed with cash to symbolize the $1 million bonus. Ko had posed with the cash case at the start of the week. She never thought about the money until it was hers.

"When I saw that $1 million in the box I was like, ‘Wow, I wonder who the winner of that will be?’ " she said. "I’ve never seen that much cash in one place before."

The LPGA Tour has never seen a rookie like this.

Ko now has five wins before she can legally drink that champagne that was sprayed on her at the 18th green after she defeated Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Julieta Granada of Paraguay. She won three times this year, and her earnings from the Tour Championship made her the first player to go over $2 million as a rookie.

Ko wasn’t the only big winner in the LPGA Tour finale.

Stacy Lewis never had a chance to win the tournament or the $1 million bonus, though she walked away with her own slice of history. Lewis became the first American in 21 years to sweep the three most significant awards on the LPGA Tour — player of the year, the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average and the money title.

Michelle Wie closed with a 70 Sunday to tie for fifth.

Armour wins playoff at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. » Tommy Armour III made a 4-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole for a one-shot victory over Lee Janzen at the Callaway Pebble Beach Invitational.

Armour III, who won the event for the third time in its 43-year history, had a final-round 67 for a 14-under 274. He began the final round trailing Janzen, the two-time U.S. Open champion, by two shots.

Armour III made a 17-foot putt on the 18th hole of regulation to match Janzen at 14 under. Janzen had just made a 30-foot birdie from the front fringe.

Stenson repeats at Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates » Henrik Stenson closed with a 70 to successfully defend his DP World Tour Championship title.

The Swede won the European Tour’s season-ending event by two strokes with an overall 16-under 272 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Top-ranked Rory McIlroy (68), Victor Dubuisson (68) and Justin Rose (69) shared second.

Matsuyama takes Dunlop Phoenix

MIYAZAKI, Japan » Hideki Matsuyama of Japan beat compatriot Hiroshi Iwata in the first playoff hole to win the Dunlop Phoenix on Sunday.

Cullen blocks Scott from threepeat

MELBOURNE » Australian lefthander Nick Cullen shot a 3-under 69 to win the Australian Masters by one stroke over Adam Scott, ending Scott’s attempt for a third consecutive victory in the tournament.

 

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