Cameron Smith and Minjee Lee will rest easy over the off-season after the two Aussie No.1s signed off on their 2021 campaigns with top-five finishes.
The calendar of official events closed on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and European Tour on Sunday, bringing to an end a year of great success for Aussies on all three tours.
Lee was in the mix at the CME Group Tour Championship at the halfway mark but lost ground with a third round of one-under 71, beginning the final round three strokes off the pace in a tie for 10th.
Four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 17th saw the 25-year-old close out her year with a round of six-under 66 but it wasn’t enough, Korea’s Jin Young Ko shooting 63 to not only win the tournament but the Rolex Player of the Year title.
Lee’s 2021 season will be remembered for her maiden major title at the Aumundi Evian Championship, a win she insists makes it her “best year yet”.
“I feel like the last couple years I couldn’t really take advantage of the last tournament, but this year I played really well,” said Lee, who will spend Thanksgiving in the US before returning home to Perth.
“I’m happy that I finished on a good note.
“I mean, I won a major championship, so it’s probably the best year yet. So if I win another major, then that will be the best year yet.
“It’s been a great year.”
Fellow West Australian Hannah Green also finished her season with a round of 66 to climb into a tie for 15th, heading home with the positive vibes of three consecutive birdies to end her season.
“I’m pretty excited to put the clubs away, but it’s always nice to end like that,” said Green, who is confirmed for the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship at Royal Queensland from January 13.
“Obviously two weeks quarantine for me going into Perth, and then I will probably keep the clubs away for another couple weeks. Just try and enjoy my time at home.
“Obviously a lot is happening before Christmas so I will just be a non-golfer for a little while, which will be fun.
“I’ll probably start on the LPGA in March in Singapore and then come back out for the rest of the year.
“Looks like next year should be easy to go back and forth, so it’ll be better.”
Smith will recommence the 2021/2022 PGA Tour season 33rd on the FedEx Cup after rising to a share of fourth with a round of six-under 64 in the final round of the RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort in Georgia.
Matching his score from the opening round, Smith’s iron play on Sunday was superb, converting birdie opportunities from inside six feet three times on the front nine.
He continued to pepper the pins with precision wedge play on the back nine, adding three more birdies to rise eight spots for his fourth top-10 finish in his past seven starts.
Min Woo Lee entered the culmination of the European Tour season as one of only six players in contention to win the Race to Dubai but a tie for 16th at the DP World Tour Championship saw him end the year sixth on the Order of Merit.
That is the highest finish by an Australian on the European Tour moneylist since Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 and completes a year in which he won the Scottish Open, established himself as a truly world-class player and is now knocking on the door of the top 50 in the world.
Lucas Herbert (69) too completed a remarkable 2021 in which he won on both the European Tour and PGA Tour with a tie for 21st in Dubai, level with Jason Scrivener (70), the pair finishing 22nd and 21st respectively in the Race to Dubai standings.
The RSM Classic
Sea Island Resort, Sea Island, Georgia
Winner Talor Gooch 64-65-67-64—260 $US1.296m
T4 Cameron Smith 64-71-68-64—267 $288,000
T37 Adam Scott 67-71-70-67—275 $34,200
MC Jason Day 70-69—139
MC Danny Lee 69-71—140
MC Matt Jones 68-73—141
DP World Tour Championship
Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Cse), Dubai, UAE
Winner Collin Morikawa 68-68-69-66—271 €2,640,975
T16 Min Woo Lee 72-69-69-69—279 €75,355
T21 Lucas Herbert 72-69-70-69—280 €61,769
T21 Jason Scrivener 71-69-70-70—280 €61,769
CME Group Tour Championship
Tiburón Golf Club, Naples, Florida
Winner Jin Young Ko 69-67-66-63—265 $US1.5m
T5 Minjee Lee 66-68-71-66—271 $US145,041
T9 Lydia Ko 69-68-72-64—273 $78,807
T15 Hannah Green 66-73-70-66—275 $48,720
T28 Su Oh 68-70-70-71—279 $31,937
Japan Golf Tour
Dunlop Phoenix Tournament
Phoenix Country Club, Miyazaki
Winner Chan Kim 69-69-66-63—267 ¥30m
T49 Todd Sinnott 68-75-69-72—284 ¥423,000
MC Dylan Perry 76-70—146
MC David Bransdon 75-71—146
MC Anthony Quayle 73-74—147