What is the LPGA Tour’s Vare Trophy? All You Need to Know About the Insane Accolade

Published 11/12/2023, 11:05 AM EST

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Circa 2023 has been pretty average for Lydia Co. And her hopes of securing a hat-trick of winning the Vare Trophy faded quickly. The award is given to the player with the lowest scoring average for the season and at the moment, Hyo Joo Kim has her nose in front, to be closely followed by Atthaya Thitikul.

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The LPGA season this term is on its last legs. The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge will see its finale on Sunday, while the CME Group Tour Champion from November 16 to 19 will be the season-ender. Ko won the award in 2021 and 2022 with scoring averages of 69.329 and 68.988 respectively. She is ranked 66th this year.

Prize and prestige

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Besides a hefty winning purse, the Vare Trophy winner gets a gold medal. But more than that, it’s about entering an elite league that has legends like Kathy Whitworth and Annika Sorenstam on its list. The latter was the first to finish with a season scoring average below 70 (69.987), when she did it in 1998.

As things stood about a week ago, Joo Kim had the season scoring average of 69.689, with Thitikul breathing down her neck at 69.761. But things can change at The ANNIKA and the CME. Ko bagged it with 68.988 last year. Sorenstam is the only other golfer in the award’s history to go lower, when she had 68.697 in 2002.

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The Vare Trophy is named after a golfer who never played professional golf. Glenna Collett Vare towered over the rest in women’s amateur golf long before the LPGA came into existence. She won the U.S. Women’s Open six times in the 1920s and ’30s. The LPGA was created in 1953.

Befittingly, though, the women’s professional tour decided to name an award after the greatest American golfer at the time. Patty Berg was the first recipient of the Vare Trophy in 1953 with a season scoring average of 75.00. She went on to win the award twice more, in 1955 and 1956.

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The Vare winners

The Vare Trophy saw a Mickey Wright sweep in the early 1960s, who won the award five times on the spin from 1960 to 1964. Then, Whitworth took over, winning it seven times between 1965 and 1972, with the sole aberration being 1968, when Carol Mann bagged the prize.

‘Weird Rule’- Jessica and Nelly Korda Question the Eligibility For the Vare Trophy

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Sorenstam won the first of her six Vare Trophies in 1995, with a season scoring average of 71.000. She went below 70 three years later. Before her, JoAnne Carner won the award five times in the 1970s and the early 1980s. Lorena Ochoa won it for four consecutive years, from 2006 to 2009. After that there has been no clear dominance, save Stacy Lewis and Ko’s back-to-back award wins.

Watch this story: Amid a Disappointing LPGA Start, Will Lydia Ko Face a Crushing Blow Ahead of the CME Group Tour Championship?

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Written by:

Shamik Chakrabarty

54Articles

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Edited by:

Anuj Jacob

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