Date: November 15, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

3 Aussies in LPGA Tour finale


Three Australians will tee it up in the LPGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship with its $US1 million cash bonus to be played in Florida this week.

Minjee Lee (ranked 15th on the season-long points list), Katherine Kirk (34th) and Sarah Jane Smith (41st) have all made it to the summit of the women's game again, although none are in position to win the bonus prize for the player who finishes on top of the points list.

That right is reserved for the top 12 players, with any of the top five — Lexi Thompson, Sung Hyun Park, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu and Brooke Henderson — guaranteed to take the bonus prize if they win at Tiruron Golf Club in Naples, Florida this week.

Lee, who has 10 top-10 finishes for the season but no wins after victories in her previous two seasons on the world's toughest women's tour. The Perth 21-year-old has accumulated $1.015 million in prizemoney in a consistent year on tour.

Queenslander Kirk is in the field due to her groundbreaking victory at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Tour Classic in July while Smith has had another consistent year with three consecutive top-15 finishes in the past three starts.

Victorian Su Oh qualified for the tour championship but is not taking her place in the field because of near-exhaustion, having played five tournaments in a row through the Asia swing.

The LPGA has had a spectacularly diverse season, with 22 different winners from eight countries, leaving a close race for the player of the year honors to decide as well this week.

Lydia Ko, So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and Shanshan Feng, who is the incumbent, have all had a hand on the No. 1 ranking this year.