Although she lost the tournament, Thompson still won the CME Race to the Globe and the $1 million bonus. It was made all the more impressive by the fact she did it while also handling the off-course issue of her mother, Judy, battling cancer.
Things could have been much worse for Ko, who birdied her opening hole, but then produced a double-bogey six on the par-four third, then followed that up with a bogey on the next.
She was three shots behind Thompson with six holes to play when her putter saved the day.
In this photo provided by the LPGA Tour, South Korean players Park Sung-hyun (L) and Ryu So-yeon hold the trophy for the Player of the Year after the conclusion of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida, on November 19, 2017. She finished at 15-under 273 and earned $500,000.
"Sung Hyun's got a mind-set where she can really dominate because of what she knows she can do but I have been part of the LPGA now for over 24-years and I've seen how this Tour has grown", said Gilchrist.
"I'm going to say I'm really, really proud of myself", said Jutanugarn, "not because I won the tournament, but I have more confidence after this week". The 26-year-old told LPGA.com she had been resting at home for two weeks after a bout of energy-sapping mononucleosis and that the cold weather in South Dakota had made practice hard. She wound up finishing two shots behind, along with Eun-Hee Ji (67). She tied for sixth with Park, who closed with a 69.
Ryu was coping with a shoulder injury and was happy to squeeze in 72 holes.
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It was the 2016 British Open champion's seventh career LPGA title and her second of the year after the Manulife Classic in June. Her midseason slump included five missed cuts and a withdrawal.
It was the second time this year that Thompson appeared to be in control and was stunned to not win.
Ariya, meanwhile, joined the leaders on the penultimate green, then topped her feat with only the fourth birdie of the day at the last for the title.
"It definitely eases it", Thompson said. To climb out, the player known as "May" changed her focus from rankings and results to simply having fun. She certainly does have a great swing, though she backs up a little through impact, but again is that what's going to make her good or great? While there were bogeys on 12 and 15 there were two birdies in between, and also one to finish on the 18th. Fleetwood shot 74 and finished at 11 under.
The season-ending tournament was won by Jon Rahm, who fired a final-round 67 for a 19 under total of 269.
Rose was joint fourth at 271 with Masters champion Sergio Garcia (65) and the South African duo of Dylan Frittelli (69) and Dean Burmester (68).
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