Ko cracks prestigious list after thrilling finish to LPGA event

Author
Chris Rattue, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Nov 2021, 11:55AM
Lydia Ko cracked into the all-time top 10 money list with her tied second placing at the Pelican today. (Photo / Getty)
Lydia Ko cracked into the all-time top 10 money list with her tied second placing at the Pelican today. (Photo / Getty)

Ko cracks prestigious list after thrilling finish to LPGA event

Author
Chris Rattue, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Nov 2021, 11:55AM

The Lydia Ko comeback story continues to grow with another great performance in America. 

Ko remains on track to secure one of the LPGA's most prized trophies, and broke into another prestigious category after the latest tournament in Florida. 

The Kiwi superstar lost out in a four-way playoff at the Pelican Women's Championship. But the lean years, it seems, are well behind the 2021 Olympic bronze medallist who broke a three-year win drought in April and has risen to fifth in the world rankings. 

The Pelican was won by American Nelly Korda - the world number two - who rebounded from a triple bogey on the 17th. She prevailed in the playoff over Lexi Thompson, Ko and Sei Young Kim. 

It was Ko's 10th top-10 finish of a season she is describing as her most consistent. 

Ko's share of second place moved her into the top 10 LPGA all-time prizemoney winners, edging her past current American player Paula Creamer. 

That's a stunning achievement for a 24-year-old, and Ko is also primed to win the LPGA's Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average this season. 

Ko has been helped in her bid to win that trophy for the first time. The three leaders - Korda, Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park - will not meet the 70-round threshold in an interrupted season. 

Ko - who won her previous tournament in Saudi Arabia - changed her plans once she realised the Vare Trophy was within her grasp. She will meet the 70 round criteria in the final tournament of the season, the CME Group Tour Championship. 

Co-leaders Korda and Thompson experienced horrors on the final two holes of the Pelican, squandering the two shot leads they held over Ko who had finished at 17-under. 

It was Korda who held her nerve, while Thompson's well known putting issues came back to haunt her. 

Ko's rise into the top-10 money list has been phenomenal. 

The 51-year-old Swede Annika Sorenstam, who made a minor LPGA return this year after retiring in 2008, is the all-time money leader with earnings over NZ$30m from 304 tournaments. Ko's career earnings have topped NZ$17m from just 198 events. 

Ko lies just behind Korean Se Ri Pak, who played 365 tournaments until retiring in 2016. 

The best earning rate in the top 10 was achieved by Mexican Lorena Ochoa, who made more than US$21m from 175 events before prematurely retiring in her late 20s. 

Top 10 LPGA money earners: Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Karrie Webb (Australia), Cristie Kerr (USA), Inbee Park (South Korea), Lorena Ochoa (Mexico), Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Juli Inkster (USA), Stacy Lewis (USA), Se Ri Pak (South Korea), Lydia Ko (NZ).