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Na Yeon Choi wins LPGA season finale; Seminole's Brittany Lincicome third

NAPLES — U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi won the Titleholders on Sunday to turn a great season into her best one yet.

Locked in a battle with LPGA Tour rookie of the year So Yeon Ryu along the back nine of the Twin­Eagles Club, Choi pulled away with a wedge that had to hit a tiny spot on an elevated green with three tiers on the par-4 16th. It came off perfectly, spun to 3 feet for birdie, and Choi took it from there.

She closed with two pars for 2-under 70 and a two-shot victory in the season finale over Ryu (70).

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome also closed with 70 to finish alone in third, three shots back, good for $77,171.

Choi won for the second time this year, and she captured the two biggest paychecks on the tour. She won $500,000 at the Titleholders, pushing her season earnings to a career-best $1.9 million.

"I'm really happy with how I played this season," Choi, 25, said. "I won my first major, and even this tournament is very big for me. I think I can have even bigger expectations now, and think I deserve it."

Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (70) was at 5 under and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (77) 18 over.

Inbee Park was never in the hunt, though she needed to make sure she didn't stumble in the final round to capture the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. She handled that with ease, shooting 70.

Park finished at 6 under, winning $20,442. She also won the money title, the only woman to earn more than $2 million this year. She finishes with almost $2.3 million.

This was another banner tour year for South Koreans. They won three of the four majors and finished 1-2 on the money list. Choi's win pushed her into second, ahead of player of the year Stacy Lewis, who finished back in the field at par 288.

Hong Kong open: Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest European Tour winner, shooting 5-under 65 to capture his third Hong Kong Open title. At 48 years and 318 days, the Spaniard surpassed the record set by Ireland's Des Smyth, who was 48 years and 34 days when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open. Jimenez finished at 15-under 265 in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours, one shot ahead of Fredrik Andersson Hed (64).

Australian masters: Adam Scott shot 5-under 67 to win in his native country, his first victory of the year. Scott finished at 17-under 271 in the PGA Australasia event in Melbourne, four shots ahead of defending champion Ian Poulter (72).

Na Yeon Choi wins LPGA season finale; Seminole's Brittany Lincicome third 11/18/12 [Last modified: Sunday, November 18, 2012 9:25pm]
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