Hannah Green gave herself an early Christmas gift on her 24th birthday with her best finish of 2020 – a share of second place at the LPGA’s season-ending Tour Championship.
The Australian major winner carded a bogey-free five-under 67 to finish five shots adrift of world No.1 Jin Young Ko and level with world No.2 Sei Young Kim in Naples, Florida.
“Yeah, really nice,” Green told Golf Australia, after her first top-10 of the truncated campaign netted her a prize cheque of $209,555 ($A274,826).
“It’s funny, I actually felt like I left a lot out there, too. Had a couple putts that could have dropped.
“Then again, I holed some really good putts, too.
“Yeah, super stoked to have a great round on my birthday.”
Green will return to Australia and face a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine stay over Christmas and New Year.
She plans to skip next season’s opening event – the Tournament of Champions which starts on January 21 – instead choosing to return to the LPGA in March after a longer break in Perth.
“Yeah, especially being my birthday and the holiday season,” she said.
“It’s going to be different having to do FaceTime for Christmas and everything, but I’m definitely counting down when you want to go home.”
South Korean Ko missed most of the COVID-19 hit LPGA season but closed with a birdie for a six-under 66 on Sunday for a total of 18-under 270.
She sealed the year-long money title – despite only playing four events in her campaign.
What made the difference for Ko was taking out the biggest prize in women’s golf for her latest victory – $1.1 million ($A1.4m).
“I still can’t believe it, that I’m here, that I won this tournament,” Ko said.
Fellow second-place getter Kim took a one-shot lead into the final round and shot 72 – enough for her to clinch LPGA Player of the Year honours.
Mina Harigae (68) was fourth at 12 under while Kiwi former world No.1 Lydia Ko (69) and Lexi Thompson (70) were tied for fifth a shot further back.
Australia’s world No.8 Minjee Lee could only manage two birdies in the final round as she slipped out of the top 10 with a 74 and tied for 13th at seven under.
Katherine Kirk (71, five under) and Sarah Kemp (72, two over) rounded out the Australian contingent – as Sunday marked the end of a 18-event LPGA season that was cut almost in half by the COVID-19 pandemic.