NAPLES, Fla. If nothing else, Na Yeon Choi proved to be a money player this year on the LPGA Tour.
Choi captured her first major this summer at the U.S. Women's Open, which offered the biggest purse of the year. She turned a great season into her best one yet Sunday by winning the Titleholders and a $500,000 check, the second-biggest prize on tour.
For someone who has an appointment today in Orlando, Fla., to buy a new house, the timing couldn't have been better.
"I think I can buy bigger than I thought," Choi said.
She earned it in the final LPGA Tour event of the year by following advice from her caddie on how to play the short par-4 16th, and delivering an exquisite shot with a 52-degree wedge to a deep, three-tiered green for a birdie that sent Choi on her way.
She closed with two pars for a 2-under-par 70 and a two-shot victory over So Yeon Ryu (70).
"I feel really great, and I'm really satisfied how I played not just this week, but this season," Choi said.
Ryu, honored this week as the LPGA Rookie of the Year, hit a 3-wood to about 25 feet for a two-putt birdie on the 13th to tie for the lead. But on the next hole, she didn't account for the wind making her 30-foot birdie putt faster than it looked.
The putt went some six feet by the hole, and a three-putt bogey cost her a share of the lead, and she couldn't catch up.
"I learn one more thing," Ryu said. "I have to think about the wind strength at the green."
Choi took it from there and seized control on the 16th, which can be reached off the tee with a big drive. Her caddie, Jason Hamilton, didn't think attempting that was worth the risk.
Choi hit a 3-wood to the left side of the fairway and a 52-wedge to a tiny spot on an elevated green she couldn't see.
"Left side of the fairway is a better angle to the second shot," Choi said. "I think the pin was at 79 yards, but I just landed it almost at the pin. I tried to land it almost to the pin. There's not a lot of room."
Her ball checked up and trickled within feet, and she was on her way.
Choi's win capped another banner year for South Koreans. They won three of the four majors and finished 1-2 on the money list.
Pebble Beach Invitational Tommy Gainey made a three-foot birdie on the 18th hole, shooting a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Kirk Triplett (68) and William McGirt (69).
Gainey, who claimed his first PGA Tour win at the McCladrey Classic last month, earned $60,000.
Hong Kong Open Miguel Angel Jimenez (5-under 65) became the oldest European Tour winner. 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.
Australian Masters in Melbourne Adam Scott (5-under 67) beat Ian Poulter (72) by four shots.
South African Open in Johannesburg Henrik Stenson (1-under 71) won for the first time since the 2009 Players Championship.