Lewis joins St. Andrews' history with Open win

Stacy Lewis celebrates with caddie Travis Wilson on the 17th hole during the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course in St Andrews.

Stacy Lewis celebrates with caddie Travis Wilson on the 17th hole during the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course in St Andrews.

Stacy Lewis had been telling everyone all week the Old Course was tailor-made for her game. She put her money where her mouth is by winning her second major championship at the Home of Golf.

Lewis fired a final round of 72 to win the $2.75 million Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship. Her 8-under-par total of 280 gave her a two-shot victory over Hee Young Park and Na Yeon Choi and the first place check of $400,000.

The 28-year-old was buzzed about coming back to play St. Andrews competitively for the second time. Lewis played on the victorious 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team, compiling a 5-0 record to help the U.S. to a 13-7 victory. She fell in love on that occasion and was inspired.

She was pretty impressive here too, opening and closing in style. Lewis began the championship with a 5-under-par 67, including a 31 on the tougher inward nine. She ended her four days like a champion, making a birdie on the final two holes to seal the deal.

She hit a 5-iron to 4 feet on the tough par-4 17th hole and holed the putt to go to 7 under. She then holed a 25-footer at the 18th and had to wait half an hour to see if her 8 under par total would be good enough.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lewis said. “It all happened so fast there at the end. You’re fighting for every shot and all of a sudden it’s over.

“I just love this golf course more than anything, the history of it.

“I thought if I could get to seven under I could get in a playoff. But we got on 18 and said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ I thought 8 under was going to be pretty tough to beat.”

Lewis’ win breaks a run of 10 straight majors won by Asian players. Her victory in the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship had been the last major not to fall to an Asian.

“To get that first major is pretty special, but this one is definitely high up on the list too,” Lewis said.

Lewis began the final round one shot behind Morgan Pressel. However, Pressel struggled in the final round with a closing 4-over-par 76 to finish joint fourth at 5 under with Suzann Pettersen.

Choi started two shots off the lead but built a three-shot lead through 12 holes in the final round. However, she bogeyed three of her last six holes. Her challenge ultimately faltered when she bogeyed the 17th hole to fall two shots behind Lewis with one hole to play.

Hee Young Park compiled a closing 1-over-par 73 to share second place.

Inbee Park finished a disappointing 14 shots off the lead as she sought to win her fourth major of the year and the grand slam. Park closed with a 78 to finish on 6-over-par 294.

“I’m just glad this tournament is over,” Park said. “I’ve gone through four rounds under pressure.

“It was tough to be in the center of everything all week. I feel exhausted a little bit.”

Lewis doesn’t feel the same way. She was on such a high, it’s not surprising she didn’t run Chariots of Fire style along the West Sands beside the Old Course. Winning at the Home of Golf can do that to anyone.

Add Stacy Lewis’ name to the greats who have won in golf’s most spiritual place. In fact, consider it a homecoming for the girl who was born in Ohio and raised mostly in Texas. The seeds were set five years ago when she fell in love with the Old Lady of St. Andrews.

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