Lexi Thompson saved her best for last in 2018 and at least partially wiped out her horrible 2017 finish in the process.
Thompson ended a tumultuous and challenging 2018 LPGA run with a victory in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship Sunday in Naples, Fla.
With her brother Curtis on the bag and the two sharing an emotional walk up 18, a beaming Thompson won her first event of the year and 10th of her career, keeping an annual victory streak alive going back to 2013.
Thompson won by four shots at -18. She nearly eagled the final hole as her approach fell just five feet past the pin before settling for par.
“After this year, it’s been a little up and down. To end it like this, it’s a little special,” Thompson said.
She received a heart-felt round of applause walking to the final green of the year as several LPGA players lined up to offer congratulations.
Meanwhile, Ariya Jutanugarn pocketed the CME Race to the Globe $1 million bonus check with ease and clinched the Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average. Jutanugarn had previously clinched Rolex Player of the Year honors.
A year ago at the CME Group Tour Championship, Thompson missed a two-foot par putt on the 72nd hole that would’ve given her the chance at a clean sweep at Tiburon, including LPGA Player of the Year honors and a No. 1 ranking.
Thompson won the CME Race to the Globe $1 million bonus check in 2017, but all that cash could not wipe out the loss of what might have been.
Thompson’s 2018 season included a midseason break from the LPGA tour due to her personal struggles.
“I’ve been working on myself a lot with just going to therapists or just trying to figure myself out off the golf course,” said Thompson, “because I’m not just the golfer Lexi. That’s what I want people to know, and not expect so much out of me.”
Through 54 holes at Tiburon, the 23-year-old Thompson led by three shots and was never headed on Sunday. Her third-round 68 included her first bogey of the tournament.
“I’m doing a lot better,” Thompson said earlier in the week. “Just being home has made a huge difference. Just being around my family and friends makes a tremendous difference.”