Alison Lee came up just short in Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea, missing out on her first LPGA Tour win after losing to Minjee Lee in a playoff, but she still had the move of the week, jumping 25 spots in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings from No. 66 to No. 41, the highest ranking of her career since May of 2017.
The UCLA alum played solid in the BMW Ladies Championship, finishing with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to post at 16-under and force the playoff.
Lee has competed on the LPGA Tour since 2015 and has had 19 career top-10 finishes in her nine-year career. This was her second playoff appearance, with the first coming in 2016 at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, where Lee lost to Carlota Ciganda on the first extra hole. After she was eliminated from the playoff on Sunday night, she sounded more determined to win than ever.
"To put myself in this position is a great accomplishment. I lost in a playoff in Korea and playing here, it's a different golf course. It just brought memories back," said Lee. "Obviously, really disappointed but really happy that I was able to put myself in that position, and hopefully, more to come."
With a runner-up and two additional top-10 results, Lee moved from 58th to 20th in the Race to the CME Globe standings. She also ranks 36th on the Official Money List with $704,738 earned this season and is 16th in the Rolex Player of the Year standings with 47 points.
Lydia Ko On the Race to the CME Globe Bubble
Lydia Ko started the season at No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings. But, nearly one year after sweeping the LPGA Tour awards and winning the Race to the CME Globe title, she found herself outside the top 10 in the rankings for the first time since June of 2021 before last week in Korea and has needed sponsor invites to play in limited-field events. Taking advantage of an exemption into last week's BMW Ladies Championship, Ko had a solo third-place performance and jumped four spots to No. 9 in the rankings.
However, because she did not earn a victory, no points were awarded to Ko in the Race to CME Globe. The New Zealander has found herself in uncommon territory with a few events left on the schedule, and currently sitting at 101st in the standings, Ko is on the outside looking in for her title defense at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
This week's Maybank Championship in Malaysia has a field of 78 players with no cut. A victory is worth 500 points, and Ko, who is again playing this week as a sponsor invite in Malaysia, will need a win to move up in the Race to the CME Globe standings and earn the opportunity to defend at Tiburón Golf Club.
"I don't think I've played as a sponsor invite on our tour since I was a rookie, playing a couple of the early Asia Swing. It's definitely different. Even going into today, I was like, I've got nothing to lose. I'm not in the lead, and I'm obviously close," said Ko last week in the Republic of Korea, where she was also the defending champion. "Going into this week, I could have finished last or first, who knows. It was a complete potluck in ways. So obviously a lot of good things to reflect on this week, so hopefully good momentum to Malaysia."
At just 26 years old, Ko has amassed 103 career top 10s since joining the LPGA Tour in 2014, including 19 wins, and has made nearly $17 million in career earnings. She definitely has what it takes, and it is likely only a matter of time before she captures her 20th career LPGA win.
Hae Ran Ryu Leads for Rookie of the Year
Five players have a mathematical chance to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, but Hae Ran Ryu could clinch the honor with a win this week in Malaysia. The 22-year-old holds the lead in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race, leading Grace Kim by 266 points after her T16 showing at the BMW Ladies Championship. The Republic of Korea native became a Rolex First-Time Winner this season with her win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, defeating Linnea Strom by three shots after carding rounds of 64-64-66. Ryu has also earned five additional top-10 finishes this season, tying for seventh at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain, tying for sixth at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro, finishing solo fourth at the Cognizant Founders Cup, finishing solo third at the Mizuho Americas Open and finishing eighth at the U.S. Women's Open.