The LPGA Tour announced Wednesday South Korean golfer Ko Jin-young has clinched its Rookie of the Year award with four tournaments left in the 2018 season.
Ko leads the race with 1,137 points, and Georgia Hall, who’s 383 points behind in second place, will not catch Ko because she will only play in the season finale, the CME Group Tour Championship.
Rookies earn 150 points for tour victories, 80 points for runner-up finishes, 75 points for third place and so forth. Points are doubled at the five major championships.
Ko becomes the 12th South Korean to win the top rookie award and the fourth straight, joining Kim Sei-young, Chun In-gee and Park Sung-hyun from 2015 to 2017.
Ko will receive her award at the Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony on Nov. 15 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, during the week of the Tour Championship.
Ko, a former Korea LPGA Tour star, earned her LPGA card by winning the KEB Hana Bank Championship as a non-member in October 2017. Then she won her first official LPGA start in February at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, becoming only the second player in the tour history to win in her debut.
The 23-year-old has 11 top-10 finishes 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 was quoted as saying in LPGA’s press release. “I really enjoyed my first season on the LPGA, and I am looking forward to having another energetic season next year.”
In other statistical categories, Ko is the tour’s leader in greens in regulation at 77.44 percent and second in scoring average at 69.6 strokes per round, trailing only Ariya Jutanugarn (69.4).
Only two other rookies, Nancy Lopez (1978) and fellow South Korean Chun (2016), have won the scoring title. (Yonhap)