Final Round Recap
Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012
Rolex Rankings No. 9 Stacy Lewis staved off a Sunday charge from 17-year-old rookie Lexi Thompson to capture her second career LPGA Tour victory at the 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. Lewis shot a final-round 69 to defeat Thompson, who fired a 7-under 65 on Sunday, by one stroke on the Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove.
Lewis entered the day with a two-shot lead and looked to be pulling away early in her round. Lewis’ lead grew to five strokes after the 2011 Kraft Nabisco champion recorded back-to-back birdies on her first two holes.
But the rest of the field wasn’t afraid to make a move, including Thompson who matched her career-best round with her 65. Lewis’ lead shrank considerably over the back nine as Thompson recorded four birdies and The Woodlands, Texas native ended a streak of 24 holes without a bogey on the par-4 15th. Lewis hit her second shot into the water to the left of the green and got up-and-down for bogey which put her in a tie for the lead with Thompson, who had just birdied the 16th hole.
Lewis was able to recover her composure and birdie the 16th hole to take a one-shot lead over Thompson. After a par on the 17th, Lewis needed to two-putt from around 30 feet on the 18th to secure her victory, which she did to capture her first victory since last year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“The second almost feels better than the first,” Lewis said of the win. “I mean, it's only been a year since I won, but I felt like it's been a long time since then, and I've worked really hard and it's just nice to finally see some results of all the hard work.”
See this one coming?
Lewis’ victory at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic marked her fifth top-10 finish of the year. That stretch included a runner-up finish at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open where she lost in a six-way playoff. But while the results had seemed to point toward a victory coming soon for Lewis, the major champion said herself that she wasn’t exactly pleased with her game prior to this week.
“This year I've actually kind of just been frustrated with my play because I felt like I wasn't getting a lot of out of my rounds,” Lewis said. “The first three days this week I finally got stuff out of my round and made putts, made some good pars and made a lot of birdies, so I felt like my game was coming around. I'm getting more comfortable in this situation, I think that's a lot of it, and it's definitely been coming. I lost in a playoff in Australia, so I knew I was due.”
So close once again
Last year in Mobile, Lexi Thompson appeared on her way to capturing her first career victory on the LPGA Tour until a back nine collapse during Sunday’s final round derailed her chances.
This Sunday on the Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove provided much different results for Thompson, who instead delivered late charge to push eventual champion Stacy Lewis right until the final hole. The 17-year-old tied her career-best round with a 7-under 65 and was tied for the lead following a birdie on 16 after having entered the final round five shots behind Lewis – although Thompson said she didn’t know it at the time.
“I saw [a scoreboard] on No. 9, I believe the lead was at 17 I was at minus 12 but then I didn't look until No. 18 and I looked away,” Thompson said. “I was just playing my own game and not focusing on anybody else.”
Thompson was asked about the different feeling she had at the finish of this year’s event compared to last year when she shot 78 on Sunday to finish in a T19 after holding a share of the third-round lead. And while this year was a much better result, Thompson said that last year’s finish did help her in the long run.
“I wouldn't take last year's Sunday round back for anything because I learned so much from that,” said Thompson. “Then I went and won at Navistar, so I knew what not to do and how to prepare for it, so it was a big learning experience for me I wouldn't take back that experience for anything.”
On a roll
It’s been a strong start to the 2012 season for 2010 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Azahara Munoz. The 24-year-old Spaniard tallied her second straight top-10 finish at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, finishing in a T4 at 12-under-par. This week’s strong performance followed up Munoz’s runner-up finish at the LPGA LOTTE Championship in Hawaii, which matched her career-best. Munoz fired a 4-under 68 in Sunday’s final round to move from a T12 into a T4.
Red, White, and Blue!
Coming into this week’s Mobile LPGA Classic Stacy Lewis held an already commanding lead in the U.S. Solheim Cup points. After a victory this week, Lewis has earned a total of 212 points and extends her lead to 75 points over Angela Stanford.
Lexi Thompson, who finished second this week, earned 20 points and now has a total of 28 points. Other Americans earning points this week with their top-20 finishes are Brittany Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis, Nicole Castrale, Brittany Lang and Moira Dunn.
The 2013 Solheim Cup will take place August 13th thru 18th at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, CO. The biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition features the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA and the best European members from the Ladies European Tour (LET).
The U.S. Team leads the competition, 8-4, with Europe having won the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle, just outside Dublin Ireland.
Racking up the rookie points
So Yeon Ryu continued her quest for Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors with a tie for fourth at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. Ryu, the winner of the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open as a member of the KLPGA, now has a tie for second and four ties for fourth through seven events in 2012. She entered the week with a 141-point lead in the Rookie of the Year race over Lexi Thompson, who earned 80 points for her runner-up finish at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
Welcome to Sybase
Two spots in next month’s Sybase Match Play field were up for grabs this week during the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. Lindsey Wright had already secured one heading into Sunday’s final round but one was still up for grabs between rookies So Yeon Ryu and Sydnee Michaels. It was Ryu who ended up securing her spot as she shot a 4-under 68 while Michaels closed out the event with a 2-over 74.
Golden ticket winners
Lexi Thompson, Karine Icher and Karrie Webb punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 15-18, 2012 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. The second annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.
Lewis is going to Canyon Ranch
With her victory at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, Stacy Lewis earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.
Tweet of the Day
“Another great tournament. Really pleased w my game and attitude!!!! Getting closer and closer. Now on my way to Atlanta and home tomorrow!!” -- @AzaharaGOLF
New mom Karine Icher, who gave birth to daughter Lola last August, recorded her best finish in nearly two years. She shot a 68 on Sunday to finish third, which was her best finish since she recorded a third place at the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational…Natalie Gulbis recorded her second top-10 finish of the 2012 season, shooting a final-round 70 to finish in a T9 at 11-under-par…Lewis’ victory is the third win by an American on the LPGA Tour this year. The other American winners of the ’12 season were Jessica Korda at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and Angela Stanford at the HSBC Women’s Champions.