Golf: Kiwi Lydia Ko rips eight-under final round at LPGA Tour Championship in Florida to claim Vare Trophy for first time

A sensational final round from Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko has propelled the former world No.1 to the Vare Trophy, awarded to the player with the lowest average score across the LPGA season.

She shot an eight-under 64 on her final 18 holes of the season to finish ninth at the CME Group Tour Championship at Forida's Tiburon Golf Club.

Ko ended eight shots behind winner Jin Young Ko, but six birdies, an eagle and a six-under back nine ensured she claimed the scoring award for the first time in her career.

Ko is now just seven points shy of an automatic spot in the LPGA Hall of Fame.

"It's really special, because it sums up the whole season," she says. "All the other things do, too, but at the end of the day, golf is about how consistently well you can play and what kind of low score you can shoot. 

"The Vare Trophy exemplifies that. I think I've only been close to that one year that I just missed out on the trophy.

"I didn't even know that I was close this year, until news came out and I realised a couple months ago. 

"Last week wasn't really on my schedule, but ended up being worth it, because finishing off tied second and to have won it feels special. Just makes a good year even better."

Ko, 24, returned to her best with 11 top-10 finishes, an Olympic bronze medal and one LPGA tournament victory at the Lotte Championship in April. 

She earned her 22nd professional tournament win this month at the European Tour's Saudi Ladies International and planned to stay in the Middle East another week, before realising she needed another US tournament under her belt to qualify for the Vare Trophy.

Ko will not return to New Zealand between seasons, instead remaining in Florida, until the Tournament of Champions kicks off in January.

"This year is going to be a little bit different. I normally take a whole month or four weeks off, when I don't touch the clubs.

"They stay in the closet. This year, I'm going to take a week off during Thanksgiving and then practice for a couple weeks, and then have another holiday for 10 days, and then come back and practice for another three weeks.

"You know, you think, 'Oh, man, January 17, that seems like a long way out', but soon it's Christmas and then it's New Year's, and then we're starting again out at Nona, so I'm going to do things a little bit differently.

"I haven't played the Tournament of Champions in a while, so I just planned my off-season a little bit differently this year."