Ricoh WBO Review: Stacy Lewis Delivers in StyleSeptember, 2013
Mark Townsend watches Stacy Lewis end the American Major drought
Nobody could ever say the Stacy Lewis didn’t earn her second Major. The 28-year-old’s
opening round on Thursday began with a 4.30am alarm call, something that was repeated on the Sunday when 36 holes had to be completed after Saturday’s high winds.
On the course the American also did it the hard way – the conventional wisdom is to prosper on the Old Course’s front nine and then try and hold your score together. On day one Lewis came home in 31 for a 67, on Sunday she birdied her last two holes for a two-shot win.
She also became the first non-Asian winner of a Major since the Kraft Nabisco in 2011, the scene of her first victory.
The shot that will be repeated in the years to come will be her approach to the Road Hole 17th, the hardest hole on the course and somewhere where par will see you gain half a shot on the field.
Lewis didn’t know the distance to the pin, only the one to the front (160 yards) of the green and the flight of the shot required. Her low, chasing, drawn 5-iron was a thing of beauty – and the three-feet birdie putt a mere formality.
To finish the World No 2 recalled a similar putt from the 2008 Curtis Cup, a week in which she became the first player ever to win all five matches and a week in which she played the course no less than 11 times.
Most leave the putt short thinking it is downhill, Lewis produced a perfect pace and rolled the 20-footer in.
With six holes to play Na Yeon Choi held a three-shot lead and looked set for a second Major. But back-to-back bogeys, while Lewis was making a birdie at the Road Hole, left the World No 4 needing a birdie. Instead she made bogey at 17.
Suzann Pettersen will have left Scotland with mixed emotions. Suzann Pettersen will have left Scotland with mixed emotions. On the upside the World No 3 finally looked comfortable on the links (Pettersen’s best finish had previously been a tie for 14th in 11 WBOs), on the downside the putts again failed to drop when it mattered.
It is now over six years since the Norwegian claimed her sole Major success, in which time she has collected 11 top- 10 finishes.
The other notable European assault came from, predictably, Catriona Matthew. The Scot looked to be out of things at level par before amassing four birdies and a pitch-in eagle at the 18th in her delayed third round.
But the home hopes were as quickly dashed as they were raised when the 2009 champion quadrupled the 5th en route to a 78.
Third-round leader Morgan Pressel was another to finally unlock the two ingredients to links golf – shotmaking and patience – but her bid to add a second Major came unstuck in the final round where the birdies finally dried up. And the bogeys, of which there had only been one in the first 50 holes, began to appear on a too regular basis.
It took a certain type of character to win here and Lewis fitted the bill perfectly. Diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, at just 11 the Texan had to wear a back brace for 18 hours a day for over seven years, only taking it off to play golf. Then, just 18, she was told she would need surgery to place a titanium rod and five screws into her back. It would take more than an early alarm call to throw Lewis off her stride.
HALL SHARES AMATEUR HONOURS
Remedy Oak’s Georgia (above) Hall and New Zealand’s Lydia Ko shared the Smyth Salver Medal for the leading amateur though Hall missed out on the prizegiving. The 17-year-old was told that she had missed out on a countback so left for the airport only to receive a phone call asking her to return, by which time it was too late.
Hall, who won the British Amateur this year, had actually threatened the lead on Friday, reaching six under before slipping back to eventually finish at plus six. Ko also won the low amateur last year.
Read all about the 2013 Solheim Cup HERE