Ariya claims $1 million bonus as Thompson wins final event


FILE PHOTO: Nov 16, 2018; Naples, FL, USA; Ariya Jutanugarn tees off during a hole during the second round of the CME Group Tour Championship at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort. Mandatory Credit: Andrew West/The News-Press via USA TODAY NETWORK

(Reuters) – Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn won $1 million and a bundle of honors as Lexi Thompson closed out the LPGA season with a four-stroke victory at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida on Sunday.

Ariya wrapped up the Race to the CME Globe and accompanying $1 million bonus that goes to the season-long scoring leader with a concluding birdie to shoot a six-under 66 and tie for fifth in the tournament.

The world’s top player also captured player of the year honors and the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average on tour.

“I am really proud of myself,” Ariya told ABC sports. “I’ve been thinking too much about everything that was going on, but today I didn’t think about that, like never. So I did a good job today.”

The winner of the U.S. Women’s Open and two other tournaments this year, Ariya birdied eight holes, including the final two, against two bogeys. She briefly lost the Globe lead, but rallied to claim the big prize.

Thompson, last year’s Globe winner, shot a two-under 70 to come back from a heartbreaking loss in the 2017 tournament to win her first event of the season. It enabled the Florida resident to win at least one tournament for the sixth consecutive year.

She finished at 18-under 270 to defeat fellow American Nelly Korda, who shot 71.

“It’s very gratifying,” Thompson said. “This is such a special event for me growing up in Florida. It is so special to win in front of my family and friends.

“After this year, it has been a little up and down but to end it like this is very special.”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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