First, let me congratulate Ariya Jutanugarn for winning the CME Group Championship. Ariya made long birdie putts on both the 17th and 18th holes to win by one stroke.

Winning putt on the way for Ariya Jutanugarn | photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com
Winning putt on the way for Ariya Jutanugarn | Photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com

That wasn’t the whole story of the weekend though as three big season-ending awards were decided:

  • Lexi Thompson won the Vare Trophy
  • So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park shared the Player of the Year award
  • Lexi Thompson won the Race to the CME Globe and its 1 Million Dollar bonus check.
Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu joint Playes of the Year LPGA 2017 - Photo Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com
Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu joint Players of the Year LPGA 2017. | Photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com

We have come to the end of another exciting LPGA season. In many ways, it was one of the most exciting seasons ever. Each week we were treated to exciting and competitive tournaments. It certainly seemed that almost every week the tournament wasn’t decided until the last hole. In fact, there were 5 tournaments that needed a playoff to determine the final outcome. There were 10 tournaments that were decided by one stroke and 9 more that were decided by two. We had winners from 8 different countries. We also saw Team USA retain possession of the Solheim Cup with a very impressive victory.

2017 LPGA Season Statistics

On that note, I would like to take a look at some of the most important stats of the 2017 season.

Victories:

1- In-Kyung Kim – 3
1- Shanshan Feng – 3
3- Seven players tied with – 2

Most Top Ten Finishes:

1- Shanshan Feng – 12
1- So Yeon Ryu – 12
3- Sung Hyun Park – 11
3- Moriya Jutanugarn – 11
3- Lydia Ko – 11

Most Top Twenty-five Finishes:

1- Moriya Jutanugarn – 22
2- Brooke Henderson – 21
3- Sung Hyun Park – 20
4- Shanshan Feng – 18
4- Lydia Ko – 18

Rolex Player of the Year:

1- So Yeon Ryu – 162 points
1- Sung Hyun Park – 162 points
3- Lexi Thompson – 159
3- Shanshan Feng – 159
5- In-Kyung Kim – 127

Vare Trophy:

1-* Lexi Thompson – 69.114 strokes per round
2- Sung Hyun Park – 69.247
3- In Gee Chun – 69.415
4- Stacy Lewis – 69.609
5- Inbee Park – 69.673 (did not play enough rounds to qualify for the title)
* Second best figure in LPGA history, and best since 2002.

Sung Hyun Park in action on Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship. | Photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com

Official Money:

1- **Sung Hyun Park – $2,335,883 
2- So Yeon Ryu – $1,981,593
3- Lexi Thompson – $1,877,181
4- Shanshan Feng – $1,728,191
5- Ariya Jutanugarn – $1,549,858
** Lowest winning figure since 2012.

*Race to the CME Globe

1- Lexi Thompson $1,000,000
2- Sung Hyun Park – $150,000
3- Shanshan Feng – $100,000
* All unofficial money, and does not count on the official money list.

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year:

1- Sung Hyun Park – 1,620 points
2- Angel Yin – 732
3- Nelly Korda – 599
4- Madelene Sagstrom – 479
5- Nicole Broch Larsen – 405

Average Driving Distance: (minimum 15 tournaments played)

1- Maude Aimee-Leblanc – 279.256
2- Joanna Klatten – 278.073
3- Lexi Thompson – 273.786
4- Angel Yin – 272.452
5- Yani Tseng – 270.815

Lydia Ko CME Group Tour Championship womensgolf.com
With new equipment, coach and caddy, Lydia Ko has struggled to maintain consistency in 2017. | Photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com

Greens In Regulation: (minimum 15 tournaments played)

1- Lexi Thompson – 77.7%
2- So Yeon Ryu – 77.5%
3- Anna Nordqvist – 77.4%
4- In Gee Chun – 77.0%
5- Marina Alex – 76.2%
5- Shanshan Feng – 76.2%

Putts Per Green in regulation: (minimum 15 tournaments played)

1- Inbee Park – 1.734 
2- Cristie Kerr – 1.737
3- Lydia Ko – 1.741
4- Stacy Lewis – 1.742
5- Moriya Jutanugarn – 1.747

Most Wins by Country:

1- South Korea – 15
2- United States – 7
3- China – 3
4- Three countries with – 2

Other News

Lexi Thompson’s second-place finish at the CME Group Tour Championship was her 6th of the year. No other player had more than 4.

The Cambia Portland Classic has extended its contract with the LPGA through the year 2020.

The Race to the CME Globe will last at least 6 more years, as Michael Whan announced an extension through 2023.

The LPGA is likely going to lose three events next year, but it will gain three new ones, leaving the tour with 34 events, including the UL International Crown. That’s the same number of events being played this year. Total prize money is expected to reach $69 million, up from the record $65 million played for this season.

The Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada is off next year’s schedule, and the Lorena Ochoa Match Play also is not expected to return. The McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open is not returning, but only because it is sliding off the schedule to move up early on the 2019 schedule.

No'W's' but a successful Solheim year for fan favorite, Michelle Wie. | Photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com
No wins but a successful Solheim year for fan favorite, Michelle Wie. | Photo: Ben Harpring for womensgolf.com
Mike Whan said two new West Coast events are being added, and they will be positioned on the calendar next to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, to give players more reasons to stay out west. He also said that there is also a new international event being added to the schedule, but details of the new events won’t be available until the full schedule is released sometime after Thanksgiving.

Q-School is officially overhauled:

The Commissioner said the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will still be played in three stages next year, but the final stage will get a makeover as the Q-School Series.
The LPGA will continue to host first and second stages, but instead of a five-round final stage, there will be an eight-round finals series, with two four-round tournaments scheduled in back-to-back weeks in the same city, with cumulative scores used over eight rounds. The new Q-Series site will be announced early next year.
A field of 108 will make the Q-Series finals, with 40 to 50 LPGA tour cards up for grabs.
The Q-Series field will be filled by players finishing 101st to 150th on the LPGA money list, players finishing 31st to 50th on the Symetra Tour money list, with up to 10 players from among the top 75 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who don’t have LPGA membership. Also, the field will include the top five in the Golfweek Sagarin College Rankings. The rest of the field will be filled by players advancing through Q-School’s second stage, which could be anywhere from 23 to 33 players, depending on how many from the world rankings and college rankings choose to go to the Q-Series.

Rolex World Rankings Movers of the Week:

Ariya Jutanugarn makes the most important move this week jumping from #9 to #5. Jessica Korda leaps up from #37 to #26. Further down the list, Kim Kaufman jumps up 16 spots to #103. Shanshan Feng retains the #1 spot by the narrowest of margins over Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, and Lexi Thompson. Any of those players mentioned can take over the top spot after the first tournament of 2018. Stay tuned!
Tony

Ingee Chun with Tony Jesselli
In Gee Chun with Tony Jesselli

Tony Jesselli is the author of the very popular blog TONY’S LPGA REPORT, which has been covering tour and player news since 2010. Every week Tony reports on the latest news and results from women’s professional golf around the world and previews upcoming tournaments with player news, the strength of field ratings, and TV times. It has earned the reputation as the ‘go-to’ resource for up to date and accurate news about the LPGA.

Follow Tony Jesselli online by visiting Tony’s LPGA Report regularly and following Tony on Twitter @tonyjesselli.

All photos from the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship by Ben Harpring Media for womensgolf.com.