Lone star: Lewis wins in Texas, going away
Stacy Lewis accidentally kicked her ball in the first round of the North Texas LPGA Shootout, taking a one-stroke penalty for the misstep. On Sunday she gave the entire field a swift kick, winning by six in her home state of Texas with a closing 64.
“I’ve been so close the last few months, and just to do it and to do it here of all places,” Lewis said. “To have my family and friends here. My college coach flew in this morning for the final round. It's one of those things that I almost felt like it was meant to be.”
The close calls have been aplenty for Lewis, who finished runner-up three times (including last week to Lydia Ko) and third at the Kraft Nabisco prior to the runaway victory in Irving. Lewis’ triumph in Texas is her first of 2014 and the ninth of her career. She moved to first on the LPGA money list on Sunday, overtaking Michelle Wie, and second in the Rolex Rankings, overtaking 17-year-old Ko.
Wie looked like the only one who could apply pressure to Lewis on Sunday until bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 dropped her too far back. Wie, who ultimately finished third, opted to tee off with an iron on the closing par 5 and then hit a poor second shot with an 8-iron that landed in the trees. She dropped her club and yelped a bit, as if the shot hurt her wrist. (Or perhaps because it was struck so poorly.) When asked on Twitter about the athletic tape she wore all week, the 24-year-old said it was nothing serious, “Just getting old HA!”
That’s good to hear because a hot Wie combined with an unflappable prodigy and a host of American stars equals an LPGA product that demands attention.
American winners to date in 2014: Jessica Korda, Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Wie and Lewis.
After driving it into the water on the par-4 15th with a hybrid, Lewis stiffed her third shot and walked away with par. The next three holes were a mere formality.
“I never let the hammer down,” said Lewis, “and making par on 15 was huge.”
Lewis’ six-shot cushion over Meena Lee (70) was the largest margin of victory on the LPGA since Jiyai Shin’s nine-shot rout at the 2012 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“I've been wanting to do this for a long time,” said Lewis. “I kind of have these mini goals in the back of my mind, like a bogey‑free tournament or certain number of putts, just kind of things that aren't necessarily score related. So one of them was kind of taking a tournament and running away with it, and that's what – I’ve wanted to do it now for a year.”