If it comes down to a shootout this week, Inbee Park will have the edge over Lydia Ko that experience brings but So Yeon Ryu could be the spoiler!
The LPGA 2015 season is going to come to a crashing crescendo of an ending this week at the CME Group Tour Championship where Lydia Ko and Inbee Park are going to wage an epic battle for the Tour’s top honors and golf’s number 1 world rank.
They’ve been at it all year and coming into the season’s final event Ko is rested and Park is hot. It’s a near-perfect formula for some high golf drama.
The Race to the CME Globe is going to be entirely different from the Race to Dubai that’s running concurrently this weekend and which my colleague Danny Norris points out is Rory McIlroy’s to lose.
The oddsmakers are giving Ko a slight edge over Park in Naples, but not by much, and they could both get eclipsed by the Tour’s newly minted Rookie of the Year, Sei Young Kim, or by Park’s good friend, maid of honor at her wedding and playing partner at the World Ladies Championship, So Yeon Ryu, or by Stacy Lewis, who would like nothing better than outplaying the dueling pair and walking off with that wheelbarrow full of money and a pair of trophies.
Still, the lurking competition aside, here’s where things stand between Ko and Park as they limber up their sticks for Naples.
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Park’s win in Mexico made the fight for the season-ending awards much tighter and will build plenty of drama. She closed the gap in Player of the Year to just 3 points, trails in Official Money by just $188,321 and took the lead in the Vare Trophy race with only a .016 stroke/round average separating the two.
The top spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings will also be up for grabs this week. Ko leads Park by just .09 average points in the rankings.
If I were going to bet on this one I’d put my money on Inbee Park, particularly if Ko and Park get involved in a close shootout early in the tournament. I don’t think Park’s technical game is better than Lydia Ko’s, but I do think Inbee Park knows how to close the deal when the pressure mounts.
It starts this Thursday, November 19, and we can watch it unfold on Golf Channel beginning at 4pm ET.