South Korean golfer Park In-bee clinched her
second straight LPGA Tour money title with a top-five finish at the season's
final tournament in Florida on Sunday.
Park topped the tour's money list with US$2.45 million in earnings,
after finishing fifth at the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples,
Florida. She carded a 4-under 68 in the final round for the
four-round total of 11-under, four strokes behind the champion
Feng Shanshan of China.
On the money list, Park edged out Suzann Pettersen,
who ended in second with $2.29 million, and Stacy Lewis, in third at $1.93 million.
Pettersen ended the tournament in a four-way tie for 29th at 1-under,
while Lewis tied two others in sixth place at 10-under.
Park is the first South Korean to lead the LPGA Tour in money in
back-to-back seasons. Shin Ji-yai became
the first South Korean money leader in 2009 and Choi Na-yeon
followed suit in 2010. Park won the 2012 money title with $2.28 million.
Heading into the tournament, Park, Pettersen and
Lewis all had a chance to claim the money title.
Park was the leader with $2.39 million, with Pettersen trailing at $2.28 million and
Lewis in third at $1.89 million.
The winner's check for this tournament was $700,000.
With their respective finishes, Park added $63,1016,
while Lewis earned $44,238 and Pettersen made $11,780.
The money title is the latest feat in what has been a historic season for Park.
The 25-year-old won the year's first three majors and had six victories
by the end of June. She has been the world No. 1 in women's golf since April 15.
Park is only the second golfer, after Babe Zaharias in 1950,
to sweep up the first three majors of an LPGA season.
Aside from Zaharias, only two others,
Mickey Wright in 1961 and Pat Bradley in 1986, have won at least three majors
in the same year.
In 1950, however, there were only three LPGA majors.
Park is the first to capture the first three majors in a season of at least
four big tournaments.
Park clinched her first career Player of the Year
honors after the end of this year's penultimate tournament,
the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico,
becoming the first South Korean to do so.
Park scuffled since her sixth victory,
the U.S. Women's Open at the end of June,
recording three top-10s in 10 starts with no win.
Pettersen ate into Park's lead in both the Player of the Year points and money.
She picked up three of her four wins this season after September and
strung together nine consecutive top-10s in one stretch since missing the cut
at the U.S. Women's Open.
After securing the top player award,
Park said her goal this season had always been to be the Player of the Year and
any other title that comes afterward would be a bonus.
In an interview after her round,
Park said she couldn't have asked for more from herself in 2013.
"I've ended the season as the world No. 1 and won the Player of the Year,
but I never really went after the money title," she said.
"My last goal of the season was to stay at No. 1 ranking until the final tournament,
and it feels great to be both the money winner and the Player of the Year.
I've achieved everything I wanted to this year. It's been a satisfying season."
Park said her different mental approach this year has contributed to her success.
She added that she's been trying to stay relaxed in key situations,
which in turn helped her minimize mistakes.
"At the start of the season, I told myself I wanted to be just a little happier than
I was last year and I should just try to win one more tournament," she said.
"Then I won the very first event of
2013 (the Honda LPGA Thailand in February) and
it made things easier the rest of the way."
Park admitted to going through some difficult times after
the U.S. Women's Open victory but said it was a good learning experience as well.
"That really hardened me," she said. "And
that's why I have higher expectations of myself next year."
Park said she will try to improve her conditioning for
next year and also work on her technique.
"I will try to improve every facet of my game," Park said.
"I will start the new season with a clean slate."