A trip to the Atlantic City area proved to be good fortune for Stacy Lewis.
The 27-year-old golfer not only won the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday, June 3, but also became the top-ranked American on tour.
Lewis won by four strokes, finishing 12-under par for the three-day tournament on the Bay Course at the in Galloway.
It was Lewis’ third career win, and second this season after winning in Mobile (Ala.) a little more than a month ago.
“I honestly thought it would take most of the year,” Lewis said. “I have gotten off to a really good start; two wins in the last three events. I just
have been playing some really good golf, but to have it happen this quick is pretty surprising. It’s just awesome.”
Lewis vaulted past LPGA Tour veteran Cristie Kerr, who was previously the
highest-ranked American on Tour since Nov. 23, 2009. Lewis is projected to be No. 3 overall in the world rankings.
"It's very impressive that she has been there that long," Lewis said. "She played so solid the last couple of years so that's huge for me to know I overtook her by playing good golf. She hasn't been playing poorly or
anything, I just have been playing better. It’s huge for me. I was shocked
afterwards when I found out. It's really cool."
She added: "I knew coming into the day I had a good shot at passing her if I won, but actually hearing it and knowing it, I don't even know what to say about it. It's something you work so hard for and for it to actually happen, it's unbelievable."
The same could be said for the way Lewis began the tournament. She tied the 36-hole record at 12-under. Sunday's round began like the previous two days with Lewis dominating the course.
The Florida-resident padded her lead by registering birdies on four of the first eight holes.
However, Lewis struggled a bit in the final 10 holes. After only two bogeys or worse in the first two rounds, Lewis played the final 10 holes at plus-4 with three bogeys and one double bogey.
Her best strike of the day may have been on her golf bag with her putter after bogeying No. 12. It seemed to refocus her, as she went on to record a par and birdie on the next two holes.
“I know people don’t like this, but I kind of slammed my putter after my three-putt on 12, and honestly, it relieved me so much. It got all the tension that was in my hands out. I was so stressed and it just got all my tension out, and from 13 on, I felt great. I kind of got my rhythm back and got my feel back.”
The closest player to add any tension in the final round was runner-up Katherine Hull, who finished the tournament at 8-under after a birdie on No. 18.
“Well, catching her was going to be hard,” the Australian golfer said. “She’s playing great. So I think it was probably more of a battle for second place.”
Lexi Thompson, who is just 17-years-old, shot a 4-under 67 on Sunday to climb the leaderboard and finish at 6-under, tied for fifth place.
World’s No. 1 golfer Yani Tseng birdied the final two holes to finish 3-under, but was on the outside of the top-10 for the first time this season. She finished tied for 12th.
The Tour moves to upstate New York for the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
Lewis has never played better on tour and is looking for continued success
in the major.
“I know I’m playing well and there were even things today I know I can
improve so that’s one thing I’m encouraged about next week,” she explained.
The other is being the top-ranked American there.