IRVING, Texas — Stacy Lewis said she had something to prove on Sunday at the North Texas LPGA Shootout Presented by JTBC and she proved once again why she’s one of the best golfers in the world.
Lewis shot the low round of the day with a 7-under 64 to clinch her ninth career LPGA Tour victory and first of the 2014 season. She finished at 16-under 268 and six shots clear of South Korea’s Meena Lee. Lewis celebrated her win with several family members and her college coach in her home state of Texas.
“It’s awesome,” said Lewis. “It’s relief more than anything. I’ve been so close the last few months, you know, maybe if I win one of those, I don’t get it done here. So I think it was all meant to be. Just to be here with my family.”
Lewis has been playing at an incredibly high level and so consistently over the past year and the University of Arkansas product said this win ranks very highly with her other eight victories. In her last 22 events, she has recorded two wins, six runner-ups and 19 top-10 finishes.
“Considering what’s happened the last few months and being here in Texas, this is one of the best ones,” said Lewis.
The Woodlands, Texas native held a share of the lead with Meena Lee to start the day and has been lights out in her career when leading after 54 holes. Today marked the sixth time in her career that Lewis has won after leading through three rounds. The six-shot win was also the largest margin of victory on Tour since Jiyai Shin’s nine-shot victory at the 2012 RICOH Women’s British Open.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” said Lewis of her runaway win. “I kind of have these mini goals in the back of my mind, like a bogey free tournament or a certain number of putts, just kind of things that aren’t necessarily score related. So one of them was kind of taking a tournament and running away with it, and that’s what I’ve wanted to do it now for a year. So to be so close the last few weeks and then to come out and shoot 64, I mean I don’t even know what to say. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and just to do it here at home, in front of all these fans was pretty cool.”
Lewis started the day with a birdie on the par 5 3rd hole to kick-start her run at separating herself from a jam-packed leaderboard. No. 13 Michelle Wie, who was playing five groups ahead of Lewis, put up a fight of her own down the stretch. The three-time LPGA Tour winner eagled the 10th hole for the third time this week to cut Lewis’ lead two shots, then to one shot with a birdie on the par 4 12th hole.
Lewis counter punched with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 7th hole to extend her lead to three shots. She followed up with two consecutive birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 and made the turn with a four-shot lead at 14-under par.
“I got off to kind of a slow start, but the eagle on 7 just really kind of got things going in the right direction, and then just I never let up,” said Lewis.
She picked up her only bogey of the day on the par 3 11th hole, her first bogey in her last 47 holes. She bounced back with a birdie on No. 12 and had a stellar par save on 15 after hitting her tee shot in the hazard and then stuck her third shot to three feet.
“I never let the hammer down, and making par on 15 was huge,” said Lewis. “After hitting what I thought was a good tee shot and then, you know, going in the water, but still making par, I mean that just kind of summarized the day.” She walked to the 18th tee with a five-shot lead after her fifth birdie of the day on No. 17. But she wasn’t done yet. She gave the Texas crowd the finale they wanted to see with a closing birdie on 18 to close with the six-shot win.