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Photo: lpga.com

Lydia Ko, 17 year old New Zealand LPGA Tour rookie, became an instant millionaire even before she went into a three-way playoff Sunday in the CME Group Tour Championship. she closed with a 4-under 68 to get into a three-way playoff in the CME Group Tour Championship. She had already finished high enough to clinch the inaugural Race to CME Globe and its $1 million bonus. Ko added a $500,000 check  for winning the Tour Championship with a par on the fourth playoff hole.

It was just a year ago at the same Tiburon Golf Club when Ko made her professional debut earning just $16,063 versus a total of $1.5 million Sunday.

The 2014 CME Group Tour Championship, with its bonus, made it the richest single-day payoff in the history of women’s golf.

Ko now has five wins before she could legally drink the champagne that was sprayed over her on the 18th green after she defeated Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Julieta Granada of Paraguay that four hole playoff.

Lydia won three times this year with her young career post Tour Championship earnings topping $2 million. That makes her the first player to win that much in their rookie year on the LPGA Tour. The win was her fifth Tour title before her 18th birthday. She was an amateur when she won her first two LPGA titles.

American Stacy Lewis never had a chance to win the tournament or the $1 million bonus, but she did walk away with her own slice of history. Lewis became the first American in 21 years to sweep the three most significant awards on the LPGA Tour Player of the Year, Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average and the Money Title.

 

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