GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (AP) ― Stacy Lewis is back on top.
And this time, she’s ready to stay there for a while.
Lewis won the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday to take the top spot in the world ranking from Park In-bee, finishing with a 4-under 67 for a six-stroke victory.
No. 1 for four weeks early last year, Lewis ended Park’s 59-week run in the top spot.
“It feels great,” Lewis said. “I feel like I’ve played a lot of good, consistent golf over the last year and I felt like I deserve to be here. I didn’t feel like I stumbled into it.”
Lewis finished at 16-under 197 on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club and earned $225,000 for her second victory of the year and 10th overall. Also the 2012 winner at Seaview, she won the North Texas LPGA Shootout last month after finishing second six times in her previous 16 events since winning the Women’s British Open in August.
Stacy Lewis poses with the winner’s trophy on Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)
She joins Sorenstam (1998, 2002, 2005), Juli Inkster (1986, 1988) and Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001) as the only multiple winners in the tournament.
“That’s a pretty good list of people there,” Lewis said. “That’s not too bad. Wow, that’s really cool.”
Christina Kim was second after a 72, marking her best finish since 2010.
Park closed with a 70 to tie for eighth at 7 under. She’s winless in 10 tour starts this season after sweeping the first three majors last year and finishing the season with six victories.
“It is a little bit relief not to have the big heavy crown on my head,” Park said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
Lewis finished a stroke off the tournament scoring record set by Annika Sorenstam in 1998 and 2005. The 29-year-old Texan opened with a 67 and had a 63 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Kim into the final round.
Matsuyama wins Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) ― With every swing, Hideki Matsuyama appeared to join a cast of top players throwing away a chance to win the Memorial.
A tee shot in the water on the 16th for double bogey. An approach over the back of the green on the 17th that led to bogey. And then a drive to the right that made the Japanese star so disgusted that he lightly slammed his club into the turf, and the head of the driver broke off.
The ball hit a tree and took one last bounce back into the fairway, and Matsuyama seized on the break. He took dead aim with a 7-iron to just outside 5 feet for birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Kevin Na, and then won for the first time in America with a 10-foot par putt on the first extra hole.
“Right from the 15th hole, I had a lot of missed shots,” Matsuyama said. “The double bogey at 16, bogey at 17, not a real good tee shot ― I thought ― at 18. But when I saw the ball on the fairway on the 18th hole there, that’s when I was able to think I still have a chance.”
The 22-year-old Matsuyama earned validation as one of the game’s bright young stars Sunday by closing with a 3-under 69 and making two clutch putts on the 18th hole for his sixth career victory, the previous five on the Japan Golf Tour. This was his first win against a field of the world’s top players.
“I just think you’ve just seen the start of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 to 15 years,” tournament host Jack Nicklaus said.
Nicklaus spent much of the back nine in the broadcast booth, and it was a brand of golf that was unfamiliar to golf’s greatest champion. The Memorial became only the latest event where proven players faltered badly.
Masters champion Bubba Watson had a one-shot lead with five holes to play. He was 3 over the rest of the way. Adam Scott, the No. 1 player in the world, was tied for the lead until playing the last seven holes in 4 over.
“The whole thing is frustrating as I stand here right now,” Scott said after his 71.