Symetra Tour Alum Inbee Park secured the 2012 Vare Trophy for low scoring average and the 2012 LPGA Official Money List with a final-round 70 at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. There were multiple scenarios entering the week – and the final round – where Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis could overtake Park in both races, but after 72 holes at The TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla., Lewis’ even-par 288 was not enough to challenge Park, who finished the tournament at 6-under-par 282.
“I mean, it means a lot,” said Park. “We had a tight race until the last tournament and the last round. I had to put a lot of pressure on myself this week and it was really hard. This week felt like it was longer than the whole season. I'm really happy that it's finally done and I got the title, really proud of myself, and this is the best year I've had.”
Park becomes the fourth South Korean to earn Vare Torphy honors following LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Se Ri Pak (2003), Grace Park (2004) and Na Yeon Choi (2010).
She also claimed the 2012 LPGA Official Money List with a season-ending total of 2,287,080 becoming just the fourth different player to win the title with more than $2 million following Annika Sorenstam (2001-05), Lorena Ochoa (2006-08) and Yani Tseng (2011). She joins Jiyai Shin (2009) as just the second South Korean to win the top money honor.
Lewis was the only player with a shot at overtaking Park’s money list title due to the $500,000 first-place check at the CME Group Titleholders, but following a tie for T29, Lewis completed the year in third place with $1,872,409.
Park’s Vare Trophy and LPGA Official Money List are thanks in large part to 10-consecutive top-10 finishes including two victories, three runner-ups and more than $1.8 million in earnings between June’s Wegmans LPGA Championship and October’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, which was her second victory of the streak following the Evian Masters. She said she’s looking forward to the 2013 season with more high-pressure experience under her belt.
“I led a lot of tournaments this year and I finished a lot in runner‑up finishes this year,” said Park. “Next year when I get the chance of leading, I won't be as nervous as this year. Experience makes it perfect.”