Jin Young Ko wins the CME Group Tour Championship and clinches LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year

The Korean’s victory was her fifth of the 2021 season and kept her ahead of Nelly Korda in the race to finish the year at the top of the rankings.

Not so much a game of two halves, but definitely a season of two halves for Jin Young Ko.

Twelve months ago the 26-year-old from Seoul claimed the CME Group Tour Championship at the end of a difficult year of injury problems and travel difficulties - it seemed the perfect way to head into 2021.

And yet her form stuttered throughout the first six months of the year and, as she explained earlier last week, that was, in part, a consequence of the loss of her grandmother in March.

However, the second half of the campaign have been a glorious reversal: 10 starts, nine top 10 finishes, five wins.

In among that run, she equalled Annika Sorenstam's record of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s and she ended it by completing a successful defence of her CME Group Tour Championship with a run of 63 straight greens in regulation.

Moreover, her final round of 9-under-par 63 allowed her to best both her playing partners in two separate contests.

The first of them, Nelly Korda, was part of a season-long duel to become Player of the Year. Ko's victory confirmed she would reign supreme.

The battle with Nasa Hataoka was rather more short term but no less dramatic.

Korda struggled to maintain the pace in that Sunday lap, eventually landing a share of fifth after a 69, but Hataoka thrashed a 64 that left her just one blow behind Ko's total for the week of 23-under 265, but also fully four shots clear of the rest of the field.

Afterwards, the champion said: "I don't have pressure on the course. I just want to better play than the other players. So, I did it! Also, I'm happy to make my best career score today, 63. 64 was my (previous) best but I crushed it and I'm so happy."

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She now plans to relax in the off-season.

"I want to keep the golf clubs at a distance, not think about golf and get a good sleep," she said. "Just want to put potato chips in my stomach and watch Netflix."

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