Ko clinches honor with four events remaining in the 2018 season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 23, 2018 – The LPGA Tour announced today that Jin Young Ko has earned the 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. With four events remaining in the 2018 season, Ko, a two-time LPGA Tour winner, leads the standings with 1,137 points, 383 points ahead of second-place Georgia Hall, and cannot be caught.
“I feel honored to clinch the Rookie of the Year award here on the LPGA Tour, which I wasn’t able to get on the KLPGA Tour,” said Ko, of Seoul, Republic of Korea. “I really enjoyed my first season on the LPGA and I am looking forward to having another energetic season next year.”
Ko, 23, captured her first LPGA Tour title at the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as a non-member, a win that earned her LPGA Membership for the 2018 season. She then opened her LPGA career in style, winning February’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and becoming the second player in LPGA history to win in her debut event, joining Beverly Hanson (1951 Eastern Open).
Ko has 11 top-10 finishes in 2018, with a tie for second at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open and a tie for third at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open joining her win in Australia. Ko also has 10 victories on the Korean LPGA Tour, where she played full-time through 2017.
With four events left in the season, Ko sits eighth on the LPGA Official Money List with $1,045,572 in season earnings. She leads the LPGA Tour in greens in regulation at 77.44% and is second in scoring average at 69.6. Should Ko lead the Tour in scoring average at the end of the season, she would join Nancy Lopez (1978) and In Gee Chun (2016) as the only rookies in LPGA history to also earn the Vare Trophy, which is given to the player with the season’s lowest scoring average.
Ko will receive the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award at the 2018 Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony, to be held Thursday, Nov. 15, at Tiburon Golf Club during the week of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Since its inception in 1962, nine Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winners have become members of the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame: Joanne Carner (1970), Amy Alcott (1975), Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), Patty Sheehan (1981), Juli Inkster (1984), Annika Sorenstam (1994), Karrie Webb (1996) and Se Ri Pak (1998). Ko is the 12th player from the Republic of Korea to capture the honor and the fourth consecutive, joining Sung Hyun Park (2017), In Gee Chun (2016) and Sei Young Kim (2015).