“After I won in Atlantic City (at the ShopRite LPGA Classic), I definitely blew all my goals out, that’s when I became the top American,” Lewis said last week after winning the Navistar LPGA Classic. “I had won a couple times, those were kind of my two main goals. Now I have my sights set on Yani (Tseng). I think I've got the game to get there and it’s just got to keep chipping away at Yani’s lead. You know, this definitely helps a lot. Going forward just for the rest of this year, it's the same thing, giving myself a chance to win on Sunday and keep putting myself in contention and let the rest take care of itself.”
Lewis’ June victory moved her past Tseng in the Rolex Player of the Year standings for the first time, with a 123-120 advantage. Last week’s win in Alabama expanded Lewis’ lead to 56 points, with 184 points, over second-place Jiyai Shin. Shin moved to second with consecutive wins at the Kingsmill Championship and Ricoh Women’s British Open earlier in September. Tseng has not scored any points since a T9 at the Sybase Match Play Championship in late May. The system rewards points for top-10 finishes ranging from 30 for first place down to one for 10th.
With a season-high 14 top-10 finishes and a propensity for playing every event on the schedule, it may be difficult to supplant Lewis for the remainder of the season. But South Korea’s Shin and Taiwan’s Tseng both have home country tournaments coming up in the Asian Swing and could make a late charge as Lewis aims to become the first American Player of the Year since Beth Daniel in 1994.
As for her ultimate goal of moving past Tseng in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, it may take a bit longer as Tseng currently has a 13.32-8.77 points advantage.