World number one Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand has captured almost every major LPGA award this season but still chases a $1 million bonus prize starting Thursday at the Tour Championship.
The 22-year-old defending champion from Bangkok has won three titles this year, including her second major at the US Women's Open plus the Ladies Scottish Open and her second Kingsmill Championship crown in three years.
Ariya has already clinched the LPGA Player of the Year Award, the season money title, the Annika Award for best results in the majors and the Top 10 prize with 16 top-10 showings. She leads the tour in birdies, under-par rounds, rounds in the 60s and scoring average.
The Vare Trophy for low scoring average is likely Ariya's as well, needing only to finish within 15 strokes of South Korea's Ko Jin-young to hoist the hardware.
And she leads the season points chase for the CME Globe season bonus prize of $1 million entering the season finale at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
"It means so much to me this year because I felt like I work so hard," Ariya said Tuesday. "My only goal, I just want to improve myself every day because I know I have so much room to improve.
"This year I feel like (I was) growing up a lot. I feel a lot better. It's not because I won three tournament this year already but because I feel like I improve a lot."
Ariya, who could become the first LPGA player to sweep all the major tour awards, says she has learned how to better cope with the pressure of final rounds against intense LPGA rivals.
"It's not easy at all," Ariya said. "I mean, I know when I nervous, when I scared, I worry because I think about the outcome, because I want to play well, I want to hit this shot good because I care about other people, what they're going to think about me.
"But then I have to come back to myself and know that other people expectation is not my expectation. I expect to have a good commitment with every shot. I expect myself to have fun, enjoy, and feel free on the course. So I have to come back and work on that stuff."
- Second Top Player award better -
Ariya said winning her second Player of the Year award was better than taking her first because it was so unexpected.
"When I got my first time like Player of the Year I feel like one award in my life I really want to get is Player of the Year. After that I didn't expect to be able to won it twice because to me I feel it's so tough," she said.
"So when I play this year I never focus about that and I actually win, so it's feel even better."
Ariya has two wins, two runner-up finishes, a third and a fourth in 14 events starting with the US Women's Open to hold off South Korea's second-ranked Park Sung-hyun for the ranking lead.
The Thai star's nearest rival for the $1 million bonus is Australia's fifth-ranked Minjee Lee, who is trying to set aside thoughts of the bonus prize.
"This is no different to any other tournament," she said. "I'm always going to try my best and do my best. I'll put my 100 percent in each shot. So I haven't really thought about the CME at the end of the week."