Golf Australia

Lewis wins, seals World Number 1 ranking

Stacy Lewis
New Rolex World Number 1 Stacy Lewis.

Reigning Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis completed her takeover of the World Number 1 ranking, fighting back from a three-stroke deficit to capture a three-stroke victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup - her second consecutive LPGA Tour victory.

“It's awesome,” said Lewis of the win. “I played great today. Myself and Ai we just went back and forth all day; she was making putts, I was making putts.”

Australia's Lindsey Wright finished

The win didn’t come easy for Lewis as she found herself going into today trailing Ai Miyazato by four strokes after an unfortunate two-stroke penalty on Saturday. The penalty occurred after Lewis had finished her round when it was determined that her caddie, Travis Wilson, had violated rule 13-4 by moving sand in a bunker on the 16th hole.

One day later, it was the 16th hole that proved to be the turning point for Lewis in a good way. Miyazato looked to be in command of the tournament all day until a three-shot swing at the 16th gave Lewis the outright lead. Lewis was able to capitalize on the uncharacteristic mistake by the petite Japan native as Lewis went on to record back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th and capture a three-stroke victory.

“I was certainly surprised she finished the way she did, but to make those two putts I did on 16 and 17 was pretty unbelievable and I'm just I'm really speechless,” said Lewis. “I played great today and I was super motivated from all that happened yesterday and just happy for Travis (Wilson).”

While the official Rolex Rankings standings will not be official until tomorrow, it is projected that Stacy Lewis will take over as No. 1 crowning a new player atop the standings for the first-time in 109 weeks. Lewis made all this possible by a four-win season in 2012 and a 2013 year that has already included two wins in the first four events.

Lewis becomes only the seventh player to hold the coveted top spot in the Rolex Rankings alongside Yani Tseng, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr. Despite always having the goal of holding the No. 1 ranking, Lewis admitted to being surprised of her rapid climb to the top.

“It's crazy,” said Lewis with a smile that could light-up a room. “That was my goal kind of since the middle of last year and I really didn't think it would be possible this quick. We've only played four tournaments this year and it's just crazy.”

The number one ranking is even more surreal for Lewis who nearly 10 years ago was undergoing surgery to correct scoliosis. The always optimistic Lewis understands now more than ever that everything happens for a reason.

“Yeah, it's almost 10 years ago I was having surgery, I was going into surgery to put a rod and five screws in my back,” said Lewis. “That was just 10 years ago. That's not normal, that's not supposed to happen. I mean, I'm not I'm really not supposed to be here.

“People with metal in their back, how do you play golf,” she added. “I don't know, I don't know how, I don't know why I'm here. I know that there's a reason and I know that everything happens for a reason. Every setback you have along the way, everything good that happens, it all happens for a reason. I don't know, I couldn't have dreamed the kid growing up wearing a back brace 18 hours a day that is the No. 1 player in the world. I don't know, I don't know what to say.”

While the 2013 LPGA Tour season is still young, Lewis is going to cherish her newly acquired Rolex Rankings No. 1 status for as long as it lasts.

“We have majors coming up, Solheim, and so much more to play for and I'm just excited about the rest of the year more than anything,” said Lewis. “I'm having a blast on the golf course, and to be No. 1 in the world, it's what everybody out here on Tour is working for and to be that person is, I mean, I really don't even know what to say.”

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Golf Australia