On Sunday, Stacy Lewis decided she had enough second-place finishes.
The 2012 Rolex Player of the Year torched Las Colinas Country Club for a 7-under 64 in the final round to leave the rest of the field in her rearview mirror and claim her first win of 2014. Lewis, who finished second three times heading into the North Texas LPGA Shootout Presented by JTBC, finished six strokes ahead of Meena Lee to earn her ninth career LPGA victory.
Lewis’ win capped an amazing four-week stretch for the Tour in which Lexi Thompson won her first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Michelle Wie ended a four-year winless draught in her home state of Hawaii and Lydia Ko celebrated her 17th birthday with her first LPGA win as a professional at a new domestic tournament. The Tour couldn’t have asked for a better four-week stretch and will have this week to bask in the glow of the momentum that has made the LPGA the hottest Tour in pro golf.
Lewis, the first U.S.-born player to win the player of the year award since 1994, now leads the 2014 money list, as well as the Race to the CME Globe and Rolex Player of the Year standings. She moved to the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Women’s Golf World Rankings behind Inbee Park, and there are a host of young, talented players nipping at their golf shoes.
Players will be busy with various activities this week as they take a breather from the Tour grind, but this off week will be followed by four consecutive weeks with tournaments across North America. The LPGA returns to action May 15-18 at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC in Williamsburg, Va., and the Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC in Mobile, Ala., May 22-25.
Those are each $1.3 million tournaments and are followed by a pair of events featuring $1.5 million purses. May 30-June 1 is the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer – a highly popular event in Galloway, N.J., that dates back to 1986 – and the third installment of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic is next on the tee in Ontario, Canada.
These four weeks show the massive domestic geographic reach the LPGA boasts on a monthly basis. The Tour’s considerable international schedule has been much-talked about in recent years, but the LPGA’s domestic schedule has grown increasingly stronger in the past few years.
Speaking of domestic success, the Kingsmill Championship is a player favorite among tournaments, so the field should be loaded once again this year. Cristie Kerr won last year and will be searching for her fourth career win at the Kingsmill Resort’s River Course, where she also won in 2009 and 2005.
The tournament has also boasted champions like Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Karrie Webb and Suzann Pettersen, and this year’s 72-hole event should add yet another stellar name to the champions’ list. The LPGA extended the tournament through 2017 late last year, proof that the Tour has a happy home in Virginia.
First though is a week off for players to rest and recuperate. Then, it’s back to chasing birdies and red numbers once again.
Topics: Tournament Preview