Going away, Lewis wins ShopRite LPGA

Stacy Lewis during Sunday's final round of her win at the 2014 Shoprite LPGA Classic.

Stacy Lewis called Meg Mallon in late April after a tough loss to Lydia Ko in San Francisco and voiced her frustrations.

“It’s a different person every time,” Lewis said of the Sunday theatrics that had kept her from the winner’s circle in 2014. Three times she had finished runner-up, plus a distant third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Lewis also called her instructor, Joe Hallett, who ran through a checklist that yielded no real concerns.

“Is there something we’re missing, or is there some wild tangent we should risk running off on?” Hallett asked his student, knowing the answer.

The solution was simple: change nothing.

The next week Lewis won by six in her beloved Texas, finishing at 16 under. One month later she did it again, winning by six at the ShopRite LPGA Classic over Christina Kim at, you guessed it, 16 under. Lewis shot 67-63-67 at Stockton Seaview Hotel’s Bay Course in Galloway, N.J., finishing one stroke shy of the tournament record.

The victory moved Lewis back to No. 1 in the world, unseating Inbee Park after 59 weeks atop the Rolex Rankings.

“I feel like I’ve played a lot of good, consistent golf over the last really year (and) felt like I deserve to be here,” Lewis said. “I didn’t feel like I stumbled into it.”

The last time Lewis held the top ranking, Park took it from her after one month during an off-week. This time around, Lewis is prepared for the hoopla and demands that come with being the best.

Two years ago at the ShopRite, Lewis took the trophy and became the tour’s top-ranked American. Last week she joined Hall of Famers Juli Inkster, Betsy King and Annika Sorenstam as the only multiple winners in the event’s 26-year history.

To appreciate the full scope of Lewis’ impact on the LPGA over the past six years, look no further than last week’s schedule. Her week began at Pinehurst No. 2, where she prepped for the June 19-22 U.S. Women’s Open and, as it turned out, the ShopRite LPGA Classic, on a Donald Ross design.

She played in the ShopRite pro-am and then took a helicopter to New York City, where she took part in the announcement of the new KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. For Lewis, who was an accounting/finance major at Arkansas, the behind-the-scenes parts of the LPGA have become as exhilarating and meaningful as championship play. John Veihmeyer, KPMG’s global chairman, told Golfweek that his company wouldn’t be sponsoring the LPGA’s flagship major if not for the relationship KPMG formed with Lewis two years ago.

“I love the business side of the tour,” Lewis said, “going to a sponsor and saying, ‘Yeah you want to put your logo out there, but how can we really make this work for you?’ ”

Collecting trophies certainly helps. And now Lewis, 29, has 10 LPGA titles to her credit, including two majors.

How did she celebrate? She flew to Michigan for an outing with another sponsor, Marathon Petroleum.

Everyone loves a winner.

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