Lewis becomes first American since 1994 to win Vare Trophy; Moriya Jutanugarn takes home Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year
Call the Hogs! Stacy Lewis Clinches Vare Trophy
NAPLES, Fla. (November 24, 2013) – It was a fight to the finish for the 2013 Vare Trophy but Stacy Lewis prevailed in the tight-knit race to become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the award.
“It’s awesome,” said Lewis. “As Americans we hear about that all the time, it’s been 18 years or it’s been 20 years or whatever it is. I’m just glad to have that kind of checked off the list. We’ve got to get American golf on the map. That’s been the goal and I’m just fortunate I’ve been playing good golf.”
Entering this week’s season finale, Suzann Pettersen set her sights on derailing Lewis’ path to history. In order to take home the much sought after Vare Trophy, Pettersen needed to better Lewis by nine shots at the finish of the CME Group Titleholders.
While the Norwegian zoned in on the former University of Arkansas Razorback, Lewis fired impressive rounds of 71-73-63-71 to finish nine-strokes clear of Pettersen. Lewis ended the year with a 69.484 scoring average, the eighth lowest scoring average in LPGA Tour history.
“It’s been stressful,” said Lewis of her run to the Vare Trophy. “Suzann has played some amazing golf the last couple months. She definitely made me work hard and kind of stay on my toes. Got me watching scores when I probably shouldn’t have been. The round yesterday, the 63, it was just nice to have a round like that and kind of get things out of the way so I could enjoy today a little bit more today andi t’s just an honor to be part of history.”
This year marks the first-time in LPGA Tour history three players have ended the season with scoring averages under 70 including Lewis, Suzann Pettersen (69.696), and Inbee Park (69.869).
The prestigious award capped off a 2013 season for Lewis that included three victories and 15 additional top-10 finishes.
Moriya Jutanugarn will be bringing home a special piece of hardware to Thailand as she became the first-ever Thai player to win Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year.
“It has a lot of meaning,” said Jutanugarn. “I feel like I did it for my country, for my family, for my fans, for Thailand. I’m pretty sure everybody is going to be really happy.”
Jutanugarn grabbed ahold of the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year lead early in the season until Masson went on a mid-season run. The European Solheim Cup Team standout trailed Jutanugarn by five points entering the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola but notched two top-10 finishes to snatch the lead away from Jutanugarn.
Masson would maintain the lead and held a mere 11-point advantage entering this week’s CME Group Titleholders. Masson finished T61 in the season’s final event while Jutanugran fired rounds of 70-72-74-72 to finish in a tie for 33rd and edge Masson by one point to become the first-ever player from Thailand to win a season-ending award on the LPGA Tour.
“It’s really exciting today because I knew I had a four-foot putt on the last hole to finish better than 33rd,” said Jutanugarn. “I was just like come on, pick it up. I wasn’t nervous when I was playing but after I was like oh my gosh, I’m nervous.”
Coming off a win at the 2012 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, Jutanugarn’s rookie season exceeded expectations, as she recorded six top-20 finishes including a season-best tie for fourth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“It’s better than I expected because I made it at Q-School, I wanted to just keep my card,” said Jutanugarn. “It was way better than I thought.”