Sunday, March 17, 2013


                                           Picture by courtesy of Getty Images(c) 

2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) continued her impressive streak of tournaments in 2013, fighting back from a three-stroke deficit down the stretch to capture a three-stroke victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, Arizona.
The 8-under 64 in the final-round for a total of 23 under par was highlighted by nine birdies prevailing her to her second consecutive LPGA Tour win. “It's awesome,” said Lewis of the win. “I played great today. Myself and Ai we just went back and forth all day; she was making putts, I was making putts.”
The win didn’t come easy for Lewis as she found herself going into the final round trailing Ai Miyazato by four strokes after an unfortunate two-stroke penalty on Saturday. The penalty occurred after Lewis had finished her round when it was determined that her caddie, Travis Wilson, had violated rule 13-4 by moving sand in a bunker on the 16th hole.
One day later, it was the 16th hole that proved to be the turning point for Lewis in a good way.  
Miyazato looked to be in command of the tournament all day until a three-shot swing at the 16th gave Lewis the outright lead. Lewis was able to capitalise on the uncharacteristic mistake by the petite Japan native as Lewis went on to record back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th and capture a three-stroke victory.
“I was certainly surprised she finished the way she did, but to make those two putts I did on 16 and 17 was pretty unbelievable and I'm just ‑‑ I'm really speechless,” said Lewis. 
“I played great today and I was super motivated from all that happened yesterday and just happy for Travis (Wilson, her caddie who drew the penalty for allegedly testing the sand in a bunker with his feet).”
Cherish the Moment… While the official Rolex Rankings standings will not be official until Monday, it is projected that Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) will take over as No. 1, crowning a new player atop the standings for the first-time in 109 weeks. Lewis made all this possible by a four-win season in 2012 and a 2013 year that has already included two wins in the first four events.
Lewis becomes only the seventh player to hold the coveted top spot in the Rolex Rankings alongside Yani Tseng, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr. 
Despite always having the goal of holding the No. 1 ranking, Lewis admitted to being surprised of her rapid climb to the top.
“It's crazy,” said Lewis with a smile that could light-up a room. “That was my goal kind of since the middle of last year and I really didn't think it would be possible this quick.  We've only played four tournaments this year and it's just crazy.” 
The No 1 ranking is even more surreal for Lewis who nearly 10 years ago was undergoing surgery to correct scoliosis. The always optimistic Lewis understands now more than ever that everything happens for a reason.
“Yeah, it's almost 10 years ago I was having surgery, I was going into surgery to put a rod and five screws in my back,” said Lewis. “That was just 10 years ago.  That's not normal, that's not supposed to happen.  I mean, I'm not ‑‑ I'm really not supposed to be here.
“People with metal in their back, how do you play golf?” she added. “I don't know, I don't know how, I don't know why I'm here.  I know that everything happens for a reason.  
"Every setback you have along the way, everything good that happens, it all happens for a reason.  I couldn't have dreamed the kid growing up wearing a back brace 18 hours a day would become  the No. 1 player in the world.  I don't know what to say.”
While the 2013 LPGA Tour season is still young, Lewis is going to cherish her newly acquired Rolex Rankings No. 1 status for as long as it lasts.
“We have majors coming up, Solheim Cup, and so much more to play for and I'm just excited about the rest of the year more than anything,” said Lewis. 
“I'm having a blast on the golf course, and to be No. 1 in the world, it's what everybody out here on Tour is working for and to be that person is, I mean, I really don't even know what to say.”
Indecision…Ai Miyazato is known for her consistency in hitting fairways and greens so it caught everyone offguard to see the petite golfer hit such a wayward approach shot into the 16th green in Sunday’s final round. 
At the time, Miyazato had a one-shot lead over Stacy Lewis but with 124 yards to the pin, she pulled her shot left and found herself in a precarious situation.
Miyazato’s ball ended up in a bush in the desert and she had to take an unplayable lie. But rather than returning to the spot where she originally hit from, she instead took a drop in the desert. Her fourth shot ended up 30 feet away from the pin and she two-putted for a double bogey. 
When Lewis made birdie on the hole, it resulted in a three-shot swing as Miyazato found herself two strokes behind Lewis with two holes to play.
It was a margin that Miyazato wasn’t able to make up as Lewis went on to win by three. With that double-bogey resulting in such a big swing in momentum, Miyazato was asked by the media after her round why didn’t she go back to the fairway and hit her fourth shot from there rather than in the desert?
“My shot was like totally in between clubs,” Miyazato said of her second shot on the 16th. “I hit the pitching wedge, but my instinct said that it was an easy 9, so it was a little bit indecisive and that's why I pulled my shot.  
"I took a look around, but it's not an easy shot from anywhere, you know?  I decided I would take a drop almost like in a bunker position and I thought we had that little backstop behind the pin so I thought I could make it stop a little bit more.  
"I was  a little unlucky ,I thought.”
There was no one more surprised to see that type of mistake from Miyazato on her approach shot than Lewis.
“I was shocked that she hit the shot she did on 16,” Lewis said. “That is not like Ai at all. She hits green after green.  I mean, it's boring to play with her because she hits so many greens.  
"I was very surprised that she did that there.  I hit a great shot in and I had to capitalise on it because that was my opportunity and fortunately I did.”
For Miyazato, who has an off-season home in Phoenix, it was her second consecutive runner-up finish at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. While it certainly wasn’t the result she was hoping for, Miyazato still took away positives from her final round and the week overall.
“All in all I had a good day,” Miyazato said. “I have a good feeling and my play was really solid, just the one bad shot on 16.  I was a little disappointed.  But one bad shot this week, not bad, I'll take it, so it was a really fun day.”
Giving Back… While the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf received $500,000 from this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Stacy Lewis made an extra donation to help young girls achieve their dreams of one day playing on the LPGA Tour.
This week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is centered around honoring the Founders and Pioneers of the LPGA Tour and the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program. Stacy Lewis recognised just that and after recording her seventh LPGA Tour victory, The Woodlands, Texas native announced she would be donating $50,000 to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program.
“Yeah, actually kind of thought about it on Friday when we were playing. Just kind of put it in the back of my mind, if I won, I want to do that,” said Lewis. 
“It's more because of what this tournament stands for.  I mean, to have our founders out this week and our pioneers, they worked so much harder than I do right now to get this Tour up and running and everything is because of them.  
"I feel like I need to keep giving back to the game and giving back to those kids because they're the future.  They're going to be up here doing these interviews in 15 years.  So I just feel lucky to be able to do it.”
Immediately following her dramatic victory, Lewis was greeted by several members of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program. In a newly designed program, the LPGA “Drops the Ropes” after the final group tees off on the 18th hole allowing approximately 50 girls from the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program inside the ropes to enjoy LPGA action up close and personal.
Golden ticket winners: Ai Miyazato, Angela Stanford, and Jessica Korda punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 21-24, 2013 in Naples, Florida.
The third-annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.

Par 288 (4x72).
Players from US unless stated
265 Stacy Lewis 68 65 68 64 ($225,000).
268 Ai Miyazato (Japan) 63 67 67 71 ($138,527)
271 Angela Stanford 68 70 65 68 ($100,492)
272 Jessica Korda 70 67 69 66, Giulia Sergas (Italy) 69 69 66 68, Lizette Salas 69 68 66 69, Jee Lee Young (South Korea) 65 64 72 71 ($58,588 each).
273 Lindsey Wright (Australia) 68 67 72 66, Candie Kung (South Korea) 68 69 71 65, Nicole Castrala 71 67 66 69, Sydnee Michaels 70 )67 67 69, Gerina Piller 66 69 68 70 ($31,399)
274 Paula Creamer 69 70 69 66, Pernilla Lindberg (Sweden) 72 66 69 67, Jiyai Shin (South Korea) 67 70 71 66, I K Kim (South Korea) 69 67 69 69, Jimin Kang (South Korea) 68 69 67 70 ($22,146 each).
275 Caroline Hedwall (Sweden) 70 70 68 67, Mina Harrigae 70 68 6 68, Juli Inkster 68 70 69 68, Sandra Gal (Germany) 67 68 70 69, Amy Yang (South Korea) 68 67 71 69, Thidapa Suwannapura (Thailand) 69 68 68 70, Karrie Webb (Australia) 70 69 66 70 ($16,859 each).

280 Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England) 71 71  68 70 (T43) ($6,462)
287 Karen Stupples (England) 70 70 76 71 (65th) ($3,412)