Stacy Lewis played the game we’ve known she had in her bag since she teed off in January at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and after 72 holes walked off the 18th green at the North Texas LPGA Shootout at sixteen shots under par and with her first 2014 victory. Although the field chasing Lewis held the potential for a hot final round and a tense Sunday Shootout, one challenger after another succumbed to the vagaries of the Texas wind and the and hard, fast-rolling greens. By the back nine, only Michelle Wie posed a serious threat to Lewis’s lead and Wie simply couldn’t catch America’s top golfer, who strutted from tee to green hole after hole, fully in command of her game and the course.
A HUGE VICTORY
Lewis carded 64 on Sunday, the low round of the day, and collected her ninth Tour victory at Las Colinas Country Club. The win was inevitable. She’s finished inside the top-10 in eight of the nine Tour events this year and has been runner-up three times, at the Pure SilkBahamas LPGA Classic in January, the JTBC Founders Cup in March, and the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April.
The win put 500 more Race to the CME Globe points in her column, further lengthening her lead over Michelle Wie and Karrie Webb, and bumped her from 4th to 2nd in the Rolex Rankings, trailing South Korean Inbee Park, who’s been holding the top of the rankings now for 56 consecutive week, by only 70 points.
INSIDE THE TOP-5
Meena Lee, who started the day with a share of the lead, lost control of the greens, couldn’t keep up with Lewis, carded 70, and finished in solo 2nd place.
Michelle Wie tallied her third top-5 finish of the season with a solo third showing at the North Texas LPGA Shootout. With an eagle on par-5 10th Wie had a slim chance of catching Lewis in the back nine, but then bogeys on her final two holes put Wie at four-under, 67 to wrap up her tournament at nine-under.
Na Yeon Choi and Kim Kaufman finished at eight shots under par and sharing 4th place. Choi, who started the 2014 season inside the top-10 in the Rolex Rankings, has dropped down to 13th. She’s had two top-10 finishes this year but is still hunting a victory.
Sunday was a splendid day for rookie Kim Kaufman. Rolex Ranked 193rd, the Texas Tech alum got off to a slow start at the North Texas Shootout, but played steady and consistently. She got a fix on the course and had an advantage with the hot, dry, windy conditions, and she capitalized on it. With rounds of 72, 66, 68 & 70, Kaufman claimed her first pro top-10 finish and cashed a nice check. Well done, Kim Kaufman!
COMING UP NEXT
The Ladies European Tour plays the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open at the National Golf Club in Belek, Antalya, Turkey May 8-11. Charley Hull, looking to follow up her victory at the Lalla Meyrem Cup in Morocco with another win, is the top challenger for that championship.
The LPGA Tour takes a week break and goes next to Williamsburg, Virginia and the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC May, 15-18. Cristie Kerr is the defending champion.
I’ll provide coverage of both events, as well as the Symetra Tour Self Regional Healthcare Women’s Health Classic. This new event on the Symetra Tour, the first in a regional trilogy, has the largest purse on the Tour and the winner is guaranteed a ticket to the 2015 LPGA Tour.