Stacy Lewis of the US shot an 8-under 64 yesterday to win the Mizuno Classic for her fourth LPGA title of the season.
Lewis, who carded 10 birdies against two bogeys at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, started the final round seven strokes back of overnight leader Lee Bo-mee of South Korea, but birdied the last three holes to finish at 11-under 205 to win by one stroke.
“I don’t think I’ve ever come back from this far,” Lewis said. “I didn’t think the low numbers were out there until someone shot an 8-under yesterday. I just went out there today trying to make birdies and got 10 of them, which is pretty good.”
Lee had three bogeys and three birdies for a 72 to finish in second place.
Lewis made a 25-foot birdie putt on 16, then moved into a tie with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. She took sole possession of the lead with another 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole, then claimed the US$180,000 winner’s prize when Lee’s long birdie putt on 18 went long.
“I knew I was a ways back,” Lewis said. “I thought if I got to 10-under it would be close. To shoot a 64 on the final day is always good.”
Japan’s Ayako Uehara shot a 67 to finish two strokes back, while Taiwanese star Yani Tseng had a 68 to finish in fourth place at 7-under 209.
Lewis has also won this season at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in April, the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June and the Navistar LPGA Classic in September.
Yesterday’s win allowed Lewis to move 58 points ahead of South Korea’s Inbee Park in the LPGA player-of-the-year standings with two events left. Each win is worth 30 points. An American has not won the award since Beth Daniel in 1994.
Lewis trails Park on the money list, but said winning player of the year is more important to her.
“The money list for me is pretty much out of reach with two tournaments left,” Lewis said. “My goal for this year is player of the year, which forces Inbee to win the last two tournaments, so to have that pretty much locked up is pretty cool.”
Park, who opened the LPGA Tour’s Asian swing with a victory in Malaysia and finished second last week in Taiwan, finished with a 70, which left her tied for 17th.
Defending champion Momoko Ueda of Japan shot a 73 to finish tied for 27th.
It was a disappointing result for Lee, who started the final round with a four-stroke lead and could have earned status for the LPGA next season with a win.
“I’m disappointed with today’s round,” said Lee, who won her first title on Japan’s tour at the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup in March, beating compatriot Ahn Sun-ju in a playoff. “I didn’t give myself enough chances for birdies.”