American Lilia Vu is projected to regain the number one spot on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings following her fourth LPGA Tour victory of the year at The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican.
The 26-year-old Californian added to her impressive list of achievements this year with a three-shot victory in the USD3.25 million event at Pelican Golf Club, coming from three shots back with a closing 66 for a 19-under-par 261 total. Compatriot Alison Lee and Spain’s Azahara Munoz both fired closing 67s to share second spot on 16-under-par, one stroke ahead of Korea’s Amy Yang who signed off with a round of 70.
Vu will take over the world number one ranking from China’s Ruoning Yin, who finished tied seventh in the penultimate tournament of the 2023 LPGA Tour season.
Playing with Vu in the final group, third round leader Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark failed to record a birdie and had two bogeys and a double bogey for a closing 74. Pedersen fell back into a tie for fifth on 14-under-par with Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou.
“I think it's all been mindset for me. I'm not a technical player. I just try and play the course the way it's given to me and then just go from there,” said Vu, who had carded a third 62 in the low-scoring tournament to surge into contention.
Making her first appearance at The ANNIKA, Vu’s 19-under par total broke the 72-hole scoring record by two shots. With previous wins this year at the Honda LPGA Thailand – her breakthrough LPGA Tour title – and at two Majors, The Chevron Championship and AIG Women’s Open, Vu became the second player to have four victories in 2023, joining France’s Celine Boutier.
The USD487,500 winner’s cheque took Vu past the USD4 million mark in career earnings and over USD3 million for this year alone, which has accounted for more than three-quarters of her career total.
Vu stressed again that it was her mindset that has made all the difference this season.
“Just playing one shot at a time, not getting ahead of yourself. It's not over until the 18th hole, so just play every shot the way you intend it. The next shot could be the best shot you ever hit,” said Vu, who had previously held the world number one ranking for 10 weeks following her AIG Women’s Open victory.
“And that's a mindset I think about all the time. I think that helps with calming the nerves and doing what's in front of me and being where my feet are,” she added.
Vu has already clinched the Rolex Annika Major Award for 2023, which recognizes the player who has the most outstanding record in all five Major championships of this year’s LPGA Tour. She is the second American to win the award since Michelle Wie West claimed the inaugural honour in 2014.
Malaysia’s Kelly Tan missed the halfway cut of one-under-par after rounds of 69 and 74.
The LPGA Tour signs off its 2023 season with this week’s CME Group Tour Championship, where the top-60 players on the Race To The CME Globe will battle it out for a USD7 million total purse at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
Results (Top 5 and ties)
261 (-19) Lilia Vu (USA) 67-66-62-66
264 (-16) Alison Lee (USA) 68-67-62-67, Azahara Munoz (ESP) 64-69-64-67
265 (-15) Amy Yang (KOR) 69-65-61-70
266 (-14) Stephanie Kyriacou (AUS) 70-65-64-67, Emily Kristine Pedersen (DEN) 63-65-64-74