The final day of the 2016 campaign also saw South Korean Chun In-Gee birdie the last three holes to edge New Zealand’s top-ranked Lydia Ko for the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average in a battle that went down to the last stroke.
Ariya, whose first five LPGA titles this year included her first major at the Women’s British Open, only shared fourth but with teenager Ko only sharing 10th, the result was good enough to claim Player of the Year and Race to the Globe season points bonus.
“I had my goal to win my first tournament and I did. To win the Player of the Year, it’s huge,” said the Thai.
Three days before her 21st birthday, Ariya took the Race to the Globe with 6,800 points to 5,050 for Ko despite the Kiwi’s second-round 62.
“I thought she was going to win everything, that’s what I thought,” Ariya said of Ko, who hugged all the rivals who left her empty-handed.