Third-place Lewis having a stellar season
Somewhat lost in the duel for Rolex Player of the Year honors late this season is Stacy Lewis. Inbee Park’s six wins, including three consecutive major championships, and Suzann Pettersen’s four victories and a surge down the stretch have pushed the 2012 Player of the Year to third place in both the Player of the Year and Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
However, Lewis still has a glimmer of hope that she can do something special over the last three events of the season, beginning with a defense of the Mizuno Classic this week in Japan. She trails Park by 90 points and must win all three tournaments to tie Park.
Even though that is a longshot, Lewis is having a great season in other statistical categories:
- Scoring Average: Lewis is neck and neck with Pettersen for the Vare Trophy, which goes to the player with the lowest scoring average. Lewis is at a career-best 69.537 and Pettersen at 69.592. Lewis has never finished better than fourth in scoring.
- Streaking: Lewis has gone on bogeyless streaks this year that are first and second on the LPGA. She went 85 consecutive holes without a bogey from the final two holes of the CN Canadian Women’s Open though the entire Safeway Classic and the first 11 holes of the Evian Championship. At the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China last month, she played the first 67 holes without a bogey before making a bogey on the par-4 14th hole in the final round. She also went 47 holes without a bogey at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
- Wins: Lewis has finished no worse than seventh in eight of her last nine starts. The only miss was a withdrawal at the CN Canadian Women’s Open when she got ill during the first round. She has won three times this year and seven times in the last two years.
- Rounds Under Par: Lewis has 62 this year, nine more than Pettersen, meaning that she will finish first in the category as Pettersen, not in the field this week, has only eight rounds remaining this season. Lewis’ total is the most since 64 by Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng in 2009.
- Birdies: Lewis has 376 birdies this season, 37 more than second-place Na Yeon Choi, and an average of more than 4.5 birdies per round. She led the LPGA in birdies in 2012 with 362.
- Sub-par Holes: Lewis has played 385 sub-par holes this season, 42 more than second-place Choi. She led the category in 2012 and finished second in 2011.
- Top-10 Finishes: Lewis has 16 this year and will at least finish tied for first as Pettersen is second with 14.
- Lewis is also second in Putts per Green in Regulation and third in earnings.
40 years in Japan
Some quick facts about the Mizuno Classic:
- The tournament began in 1973 with American Jan Ferraris capturing the title. The previous American to win before Stacy Lewis last year was Betsy King in 1993.
- Momoko Ueda has won twice on the LPGA – both times in the Mizuno Classic. In 2007, she won at Kashikojima CC and captured an additional four tournaments on the LPGA of Japan. In 2011, she beat China’s Shanshan Feng in a playoff.
- From 2001-2005, Annika Sorenstam won five consecutive Mizuno Classics. In 15 rounds, she recorded 14 in the 60s and was a cumulative 95-under par.
- When Momoko Ueda won the 2007 Mizuno Classic, she holed her second shot from 228 yards for a double eagle on the par-5 seventh hole in the final round. Of the 31 double eagles in LPGA history, Ueda and Patty Sheehan (1989 Rochester International) are the only players to win the tournament.
- This will be the eighth consecutive year that Kashikojima Country Club in Shima has hosted the Mizuno Classic. Seta Golf Course has hosted the event a record 10 times.
Jiyai Shin has finished in the top 10 in four of her five career Mizuno Classic starts, including two wins (2008 and 2010). … There has not been a Japanese winner on the LPGA this season entering the only LPGA event in Japan. The last Japanese winner on the LPGA was Mika Miyazato at the Safeway Classic in August 2012. … In 2012, with two events remaining on the schedule, Lewis led Park by 58 points in the Rolex Player of the Year standings. With three events remaining this year, Park leads Pettersen by 38 points.