The LPGA Tour held its Rolex Players Awards on Thursday night at the Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

Lexi Thompson was among 18 people to receive an award.

Thompson won the Founders Award from her playing peers. This award goes to the best player who exemplifies the LPGA’s spirit, ideals, and values through her behavior and deeds.

“Winning this award is a huge honor on its own, but to know that it was voted on from my fellow peers, that I think so highly of and think that they’re such amazing women on and off the golf course, it means so much to me,” Thompson said accepting the award.

“I have cherished every single friendship that I have made in my whole career out here. So, thank you to them for, I guess, having this respect for me. Like I said, I’ve gained a lot of friendships, and I’m grateful for every single one of them.”

Thompson, Jane Park, Hae Ran Ryu, Lilia Vu, Jim Fitterling and Sheri Hayes earned individual awards.

Park won the Heather Farr Perseverance Award, which goes to the player who has demonstrated determination, perseverance, and spirit in fulfilling her goals.

Her daughter, Grace Godfrey, experienced undiagnosed epileptic seizures during the 2021 Ascendant LPGA event. Park became her full-time caregiver and a massive advocate for disability and epilepsy awareness. This July, she returned to the LPGA to play at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

Ran Ryu earned the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year honors. Among the 32 rookies, she earned 893 points to clinch the award ahead of the season finale. She became the sixth player from Korea since 2015 to earn this award.

Vu is a four-time LPGA winner this season and earned the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. She had the most outstanding record in all five major championships.

To win this award, a player must have won at least one major that year. Vu won two: the AIG Women’s Open and the Chevron Championship. She is the second American to win this award, joining Michelle Wie West, who earned it in 2014.

Vu also became the first American since Julie Inkster in 1999 to win two majors in a single season.

Fitterling earned the Commissioners Award. He is the Dow Chairman and CEO who has been instrumental at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

This award, which began in 1991, recognizes the person or organization that furthered women’s golf and possesses the highest character and standards regarding the LPGA and its members.

The last individual award, the Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, went to Hayes. This award, instituted in 1989 to honor the late teaching professional Ellen Griffin, recognizes an individual, male or female, who has contributed significantly to golf education and emulates Griffin’s love and dedication.

Hayes has been named a Top 50 Golf Teacher by the LPGA and Top 50 Women Golf Instructors by Golf Digest. She was chosen as LPGA Professional of the Year twice and LPGA Teacher of the Year three times as she represents the LPGA Western Section.

The LPGA also honored the 12 Rolex First-Time winners on Thursday night.

Those first-timers are Vu, Ruoning Yin, Grace Kim, Rose Zhang, Allisen Corpuz, Linn Grant, Elizabeth Szokol, Alexa Pano, Megan Khang, Chanettee Wannasaen, Hae Ran Ryu and Angel Yin.

A record-breaking 12 women became first-time winners in the 2023 season, surpassing the previous record of 11 set in 1995 and 2022.

Two awards are left to give, the Rolex Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy, which will be named after the CME Group Tour Championship wraps up on Sunday.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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By David

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