Jin Young Ko wraps up LPGA Rookie of the Year

Jin Young Ko continues South Korea’s dominance of the Louise Suggs Rolex LPGA Rookie of the Year Award as this year’s winner.

With her 13th-place finish Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai, Ko clinched the points-based award. With just four events remaining this year, nobody can catch her.

Ko, 23, makes it four years in a row that South Koreans have won the award, six years in the last eight. Ko won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in her rookie debut in February and has 10 other top-10 finishes so far this year.

“I feel honored to clinch the Rookie of the Year Award here on the LPGA tour, which I wasn’t able to get on the KLPGA Tour,” Ko said

Like so many of her South Korean predecessors, Ko was a Korean LPGA Tour star before joining the American-based LPGA. She earned her membership for this year by winning the KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember last year. She won nine KLPGA titles before winning the KEB Hana Bank, a co-sanctioned event.

Georgia Hall, who won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in August, is second in the ROY standings, 383 points behind Ko. A victory is worth 150 points, but with Hall only committed to playing the CME Group Tour Championship season finale, she can’t catch Ko.

Ko will receive her award at the season-ending Rolex LPGA Awards program at the season-finale CME Group Tour Championship. She is also in the running for the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. She’s second with a 69.59 scoring average, trailing Ariya Jutanugarn at 69.37. Nancy Lopez (1978) and In Gee Chun (2016) are the only LPGA rookies to win the Vare Trophy.

As ROY, Ko follows fellow South Korean winners Sung Hyun Park (2017), Chun (2016), Sei Young Kim (2015), So Yeon Ryu (2012), Hee Kyung Seo (2011), Jiyai Shin (2009), Seon Hwa Lee (2006), Shi Hyun Ahn (2004), Hee-Won Han (2001), Mi Hyun Kim (1999) and Se Ri Park (1998).

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