A lot on the line as the LPGA season enters its final month | LPGA | Catch My Job


As the talent on the LPGA Tour has gotten younger, so has the depth of competition. Just ask Lydia Ko and Ataya Titikul, two of the most prolific young stars to ever play the women’s game, who faced off at the BMW Women’s Championship.

Who was once a teenager who made history as the youngest ever to win on the LPGA Tour at age 15. On Sunday, the now 25-year-old went one stroke back to overtake the tour’s newest teenage sensation in 19-year-old Titikul, who holds her own record as the youngest ever to win a professional golf tournament at 14.

“In all these championships, the cut score is getting lower and lower, the score to win is getting lower and lower,” said Ko, who won at 21 under for the championship. “If you have one OK round, it sets you back a lot more than maybe before where it could have been OK and you could have still won. The level of play and the level of women’s golf right now is so high that it’s really, really hard to beat.”

Ko was forced to muster a final round of 65 to overtake not only Thitikul, but a string of eight other rookies who also finished in the top 20. For the first-year members, success is just about earning a spot in the limited-field tournament in Korea, let alone fight. And it took one of Ko’s career-best seasons, with two wins and 11 top-10 finishes to date, to keep up with the growing talent on the LPGA Tour.

“When I was No. 1 (in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking), I just had more wins that season. I don’t think I’ve had that many top 10s,” said Ko, who won five times in 2015 en route to becoming world No. 1. “I think every season is really hard to compare because I’m not only trying to improve, but every player is trying to improve, and I think that’s why it shows in the result.

Expect to see a lot of low scores as the Tour’s next stop is a 54-hole sprint to the finish at the TOTO Japan Classic. Beginning Nov. 3, the event returns to the LPGA schedule for the first time since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although the event has not been played on the LPGA schedule for the past two years, as a joint event with the JLPGA, it has still been part of the JLPGA regular season, with Jiyai Shin winning in 2020 and Ayako Furue, a rookie this year on the LPGA Tour, returning as defending champion.

The TOTO Japan Classic kicks off an exciting, three-week stretch that, after finishing in Japan, will see the Tour return to the United States for the final two events of the year – the Pelican Women’s Championship followed by the CME Group Tour Championship – where the top honors of the season will be awarded .

And with just three events left in the season, the Race for the CME Globe, Role Player of the Year, Ware Trophy and Money Title could soon become a toe-to-toe contest between Ko and Titikul.

Who leads the race to the CME Globe with Thitikula in second place. Who leads the race for Rolex Player of the Year with Thitikula in fourth place. Ko leads the Tour by points average, and Titikul is third. Both Ko and Titikul are ranked in the top 5 on the money list, and with a $2 million payout at the season-ending event, the race is wide open. Thitikul will also chase its history. She leads the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year standings and will try to become just the third player to win both Rookie and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

As the competition on the LPGA Tour grew, so did the excitement. And the final three events of the LPGA Tour season will be some of the most exciting of the year as the Tour’s youngest stars battle it out for the season’s biggest prizes.


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