KO PROJECTED TO MOVE TO TOP OF ROLEX RANKINGS
Following her major championship victory, Jin Young Ko is projected to move to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings when the rankings are officially released on Monday. Ko is projected to overtake Sung Hyun Park, who has held the top spot since March 4, 2019.
Following her third-place finish, Lexi Thompson is projected to move up three spots to No. 6 and reclaim the title of highest-ranked American on the Rolex Rankings, which Nelly Korda held for the previous two weeks.
MI HYANG LEE EARNS BEST FINISH AT A MAJOR
Mi Hyang Lee birdied the first two holes of the final round but with a bogey on No. 8 and a wayward tee shot that cost her a birdie chance on No. 18, Lee fell three strokes short of winner Jin Young Ko. Lee finished runner-up after shooting a 2-under 70 on Sunday to finish -7 overall.
“I had a good start on the first and second holes. I mean, I don’t think I did bad. I mean, I didn't make bogey on the back nine, so that is way better than the second and third round,” said the 26-year-old from the Republic of Korea. “So that was my goal, I would just come down and keep my plan on the back nine then. But the only mistake that I made was the shot on No. 18 tee shot. I think that's is my only one bad shot today.”
This was the best major finish for the two-time LPGA Tour champion. Prior to the ANA Inspiration, Lee finished T4 at the 2015 Evian Championship and the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Although she goes home without a win, Lee comes away with more confidence and the ability to concentrate on her game despite a large gallery following.
“It's a lot of camera and people cheering and watching me that back nine, but still I can control by myself. I think my mental is more better than before,” said Lee. “We have four more majors. Yeah, this is really good momentum for me, so, yeah, I'm so happy with this week.”
LEXI BUILDING CONFIDENCE FOR EVENTS TO COME
Lexi Thompson ended the third round of the ANA Inspiration at -1, seven strokes out of the lead. But with some guidance from her caddie Benji Thompson, the 2014 winner came out swinging and put together one of Sunday’s lowest rounds. Her 5-under 67 catapulted her up the leaderboard to finish at -6 and in third place. Thompson had seven birdies on the day and put up her best round of the tournament.
Before even stepping foot out on the course, Lexi and Benji agreed on the strategy for the day. “We had texted a little bit, and we said to each other, ‘Let's just fire at every pin. We have to make birdies, and just don't play away from any pins,’” said Thompson. “Yes, some of them were tucked so you have to play just a little right or left of them, but we were like, ‘Let's just go for the lowest score we possibly can.’”
Thompson’s third-place finish is her best result since winning the 2018 CME Group Tour Championship. Her final-round 67 ties her best round of the season, where she also posted a 67 during the first round of the Diamond Results Tournament of Champions and the final round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Her performance at the first major of the year came with plenty of positives to take into the rest of the season. “I've been working so hard on my game, get my ball striking more consistent. Worked with Kevin Kirk for a few days before I wasn't to San Diego, and just working on my swing in general. And just to make the putts that I did were very clutch,” said Thompson. “I'm just going to continue to work in those two weeks and keep on improving.”
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Jin Young Ko (69-71-68-70)
- Ko is the first multiple winner of the 2019 LPGA Tour season
- She is the fifth player from the Republic of Korea to win the ANA Inspiration, joining Grace Park (2004), Sun Young Yoo (2012), Inbee Park (2013) and So Yeon Ryu (2017)
- She is the 17th player to win her first major at the ANA Inspiration
- She is the 15th player from the Republic of Korea to win a major, the most of any country other than the United States
- She is the 156th player in LPGA Tour history to break the $2 million earnings threshold; she is projected to jump from 175th to 149th on the Career Money List
- Her caddie, David Brooker, was the caddie for ANA Inspiration winners Grace Park (2004) and Lorena Ochoa (2008)
- Ko’s 72-hole score of 278 is her career-best score at the ANA Inspiration; her previous best was 290 in 2018
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 30 putts
- Ko is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in her Membership debut and won the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as a non-Member
- This is Ko’s sixth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, finished second at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and tied for third at the HSBC Women’s World Championship
- She is competing in her fourth ANA Inspiration; her best finish is T64 in 2018
- Ko won the 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors, an award she clinched with four events remaining in the season
Rolex Rankings No. 54 Mi Hyang Lee (70-73-68-70)
- Lee’s 72-hole score of 8-under 281 is her career-best score at the ANA Inspiration; her previous best was 283 in 2018
- She hit six of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Lee is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour; she has two career victories, most recently the 2017 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open
- This is Lee’s seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is T10 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
- She is competing in her sixth ANA Inspiration; her best finish is a tie for eighth in 2015, with missed cuts the last two consecutive years
- Lee spent 2012 on both the LPGA and Symetra Tours; on the Symetra Tour, she earned Gaelle Truett Rookie of the Year honors thanks to a season that included a win at the Symetra Classic
Rolex Rankings No. 9 Lexi Thompson (69-72-74-67)
- Thompson’s fourth-round 67 is tied for her third-best round at the ANA Inspiration; she shot a 64 in the second round of her win in 2014 and a 67 in the second and fourth rounds in 2017
- She hit eight of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 25 putts
- Thompson is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour; she has 10 victories, including a major win at the 2014 ANA Inspiration
- This is Thompson’s fifth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is T10 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions
- She is competing in her 10th ANA Inspiration; she won the tournament in 2014, finished second in a playoff in 2017, has two other top-10 finishes and has never missed the cut
- Thompson won the 2017 Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average and also captured that year’s Race to the CME Globe
- She has won an event in each of the past six LPGA Tour seasons, the longest active streak on Tour
- She represented the USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she finished T19, and is a three-time member of the USA Solheim Cup and UL International Crown Teams
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
With her win, Ko earns 625 points and is projected to remain first in the Race to the CME Globe with 1,957 points.
ROLEX ANNIKA MAJOR AWARD
With her win, Ko earns 60 points and becomes eligible to win the award at the end of the season.
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE – SCORE 1 FOR ST. JUDE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group will donate $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Mi Hyang Lee had an ace this week at the 2019 ANA Inspiration. There have been seven made prior to the week and a total of $160,000 has been donated thus far in 2019.
LEADERS TOP 10 COMPETITION
The LEADERS Top 10 competition awards a $100,000 bonus to the LPGA player with the most top-10 finishes through the completion of the event held immediately prior to the CME Group Tour Championship. In the event of a tie in total top-10 finishes, the award will go to the player with the most official wins, followed by most second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc., until the tie is broken.
With her win at the ANA Inspiration, Jin Young Ko joins Nelly Korda at the top of the competition with five top-10 finishes each. In second with four top-10 finishes are Azahara Munoz and Hyo Joo Kim.