The action-packed extravaganza that is the 2014 LPGA Tour season kept rolling on Sunday.
A week after relinquishing the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s Golf World Rankings to Stacy Lewis – who won in Atlantic City two weeks ago – Inbee Park rode a 10-under 61 in the final round to win the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, to serve notice that she may not be ready to let Lewis have the reigns for long. Park’s 10th career win gives the LPGA yet another boon heading into an off week this week, as the Tour watches its male counterparts take on Pinehurst No. 2 in the U.S. Open.
The U.S. Women’s Open follows the next week on the same famed track, and the Tour heads into it all with the momentum of the last two Rolex Players of the Year winning in consecutive weeks. Park is expected to remain second behind Lewis this week, so the world’s top ranking could also be on the line at the U.S. Women’s Open from June 19-22.
Park is the event’s defending champion and also won in 2008, so she clearly has the game to withstand the USGA’s tough course setups. Cristie Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion, shot a 63 on Sunday to finish second behind Park in Canada, so that’s a solid indication she could be in the mix down the stretch at Pinehurst.
The last four weeks have been great for the LPGA, with Tour favorite Lizette Salas becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner in Virginia, Jessica Korda emerging victorious for the second time this season and Lewis and Park going back-to-back. It’s no secret that the LPGA has enjoyed a monster year, and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon.
With a litany of dreamlike storylines coming to the forefront week after week, the Tour is riding high and will continue that wave by holding arguably its biggest tournament at the same locale as the men for the first time ever. Pinehurst is hallowed ground in the world of golf, and with a $3.25 million purse up for grabs, the intensity should be epic over the closing holes.
But for now, the Tour can take a breath, bask in the glow of a stupendous season and watch the world’s best men’s golfers play in the game’s ultimate test of skill, heart and desire. That’s not a bad way to spend a week.
Topics: US Women's Open