Sunday, March 3, 2013

HSBC Women's Champions Sunday: Stacy Lewis Does It Again

Stacy Lewis (-15) just held off Na Yeon Choi (-14) and Paula Creamer (-13) to win the HSBC Women's Champions.  An eagle on the par-5 7th and a birdie on the par-4 9th gave her a lead she never relinquished, as all three playing partners had fairly rocky finishes in the final group of the day.  No one from back in the pack was able to make a run at them, though, as Karrie Webb, Ilhee Lee, and Michelle Wie were the only players to break 70 (they all had 69s) and Ariya Jutanugarn was the only other golfer to get double digits under par, while Inbee Park (77), Azahara Munoz (77), Sun Young Yoo (76), and Ji-Yai Shin (74) made uncharacteristic tumbles down the leaderboard.

Lewis adds another big win to her ever-growing resume (now at 6 and counting!), but it didn't come easy.  She bogeyed 2 of her last 4 holes and failed to birdie both par 5s on the back.  But neither Creamer nor Choi could walk through the door Lewis so gallantly held open for them.  Creamer got it to -15 with 6 holes left to play, but bogeyed 15 and 16 while Lewis was bogeying 15 and 17.  For Choi, it was a lack of birdies that held her back:  she had her only 2 of the day on the 6th and 7th holes to bring her to -15, but closed out her round with 10 pars and a bogey on the par-4 13th.  So it definitely wasn't a pretty win for Lewis.  But grinding out a close one in which she had to hang on and hold it together when the going got tough (rather than blowing away the field, as it seems she does every few wins) is great experience for the young American and is going to make her an even more formidable competitor down the road.

Which is just going to force all her closest competitors to pick up their games when the LPGA makes its U.S. debut in a couple of weeks!


thejamierbelyea said...

Does the LPGA have a similar exemption for non-members earning enough prize money during the season to allow them to skip Q School? Based on 2012 numbers Ariya's $215,000 or so would be good enough for a top 60 finish, with other events to coms.

pearshapedhuman said...

I clicked to ask the same thing as thejamierbelyea.

Last week Thailand jumped 2 spots (over Italy and France) to #9 in the hunt for a team to play in the 2013 International Crown. I don't think they'll pass England this week, but it will be a fun race to watch for the next couple of years. Both Jutarugarns are for real and Phatlum just got her first top ten.

Anonymous said...

Non-member must be top 40 on money list to gain membership. Money only counts from tournaments with a cut. So Ariya's money total is zero.

The Constructivist said...

The rule used to be domestic tournaments with a cut and not entering the field via a sponsor's exemption. Not sure how much it's been loosened since I last checked. Will look into it, but my guess is Ariya needs a LPGA win to get an early guarantee of membership next year.

Anonymous said...

Priority status 10 from LPGA does not show anything about sponsor's exemption or needing to be domestic tournament, only needs to be official tournament with a cut.