L. Ko, Lexi fail to qualify for LPGA finale; brutal finish for Pedersen

The pressure to qualify for the LPGA’s season finale is finally over and a couple of notable names didn’t make it.

The Annika event marked the last chance for players to crack the top 60 in the Race to the CME Globe standings, thus qualifying for the upcoming CME Group Tour Championship.

This year’s field in Naples, Florida, however, will look a little different.

Lexi Thompson needed at least a solo third-place finish at The Annika in order to squeeze into the top 60 in the CME standings. She gave it a run, tying for seventh. But it wasn’t enough as she finished 79th in the standings.

It will mark the first time in her career that the 11-time LPGA winner is not at the finale, which she won in 2018. Thompson, winless on tour since ’19, had been playing well of late. She won 3 points at the Solheim Cup and finished inside the top 10 in her two most recent LPGA starts. She also nearly made the cut in a surprise start at the PGA Tour’s Shriners Children’s Open. But even with the inspiring finish, Thompson’s rough start to the year proved too big of a hill to climb.

Lydia Ko has been slipping from that hill since the start of the year. Ko won three times in 2022, including the CME Group Tour Championship. She was also Player of the Year, ranked No. 1 in the world and got married.

She entered this week’s tournament, however, outside the top 100 in points with only two top-10 finishes on the season. Ko tied for 31st at Pelican Golf Club and moved from No. 101 to 100.

Also failing to qualify for the CME was Emily Kline Pedersen. The Dane, in search of her first LPGA title, led The Annika through 54 holes. Though she couldn’t win the event when she reached the final hole, she needed to make a par in order to advance to the finale for the first time. Instead, she hit it into the water and made a double-bogey 6, finishing 70th on the points list.

Pedersen shot 74 on Sunday without a birdie, tying for seventh.

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