Amy Yang headed into the final round as co-leader alongside Nasa Hataoka; a brilliant eagle on the 13th helped her into the lead; the $2m (£1.75m) prize is the joint richest prize in women’s golf with US Women’s Open;
Last Updated: 19/11/23 9:06pm
A sensational hole out eagle on the par-four 13th helped Amy Yang to a brilliant win at the CME Group Tour Championship, netting a £1.75m ($2m) prize and her fifth LPGA Tour win.
In what is her first win on Tour since 2019, and her first in America, Yang headed into the final round at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Naples with a share of the lead alongside Nasa Hataoka but two early birdies for the latter, and a bogey for Yang on the par-four third, gave Hataoka an early three shot cushion after just five holes.
However, Yang recovered well to reach the halfway point just a shot behind Hataoka and then joined her as co-leader with a brilliant long-range putt for a birdie on the 10th.
Despite Yang’s recovery, Hataoka showed her class once again with a brilliant approach shot on the 11th for a birdie to go 24-under and regain a one-shot lead.
Yang’s big moment then arrived as she holed out on the par-four 13th and was catapulted into the lead with five to play.
Although Hataoka stayed calm under pressure and regained the co-lead with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th, a bogey on the 16th set her back.
Yang then headed into the final hole with a two-shot lead and an incredible approach shot under pressure helped her seal a three-shot win.
“It means everything to me and thank you so much everyone for waiting for me and congratulating me on my first win in the US, Yang said.
“I always wanted to win my first one in the US and this is just special. It is just a great honour to have my first win here.
“The eagle was good momentum going through but I was so nervous going down the stretch.”
The almost matchplay style battle between Yang and Hataoka allowed Alison Lee to slowly make progress and finish in joint second alongside Hataoka.
Although she could not quite do enough to secure her first LPGA win, Lee’s seven birdies were even more evidence she is in the form of her life.
Elsewhere, Lilia Vu was crowned the Rolex Player of the Year with a fourth-place finish.
Vu led Celine Boutier and was able to outright win with a seventh-place finish or better which she secured in style, five birdies in six holes helping her on her way.
After her round, Vu was quick to cite her late grandpa as her inspiration for a brilliant season.
“It means a lot. I mean, I think this whole entire season I’ve played for my grandpa,” said Vu.
“Once I lost him at the beginning of COVID, I think I just always keep him in the back of my mind and just trust myself and not give up.
“All the hard work, everything I’ve been through in my rookie not being great, and just keep pushing and growing and trying to be better.
“I think he would be really proud.
“There was a lot of learning moments, very up and down, and, yeah, I just know how to plan my schedule better next year.
“I know what to do, and that makes me excited for off-season and planning what I want for next year.”
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