Stacy Lewis leads LPGA Tour to Challenge victory


Thu, Nov 14, 2013 - Page 20

Stacy Lewis shot a seven-under 65 to lead the LPGA Tour team to the championship of the 3-Tour Challenge on Tuesday.

The LPGA Tour combined for a score of 17-under, edging the Champions Tour by one stroke and beating the PGA Tour by nine strokes.

Lewis (31-34) had eight birdies, including six birdies on the first nine holes at the Rio Secco Golf Club, and one bogey to pace the LPGA Tour toward their first 3-Tour win since 2009.

Last year, the LPGA Tour lost a two-hole playoff to the PGA Tour team.

Natalie Gulbis, with four birdies and two bogeys, was next for the LPGA Tour at two-under. Cristie Kerr, the LPGA’s third golfer, did not have her score count on five holes in this two-player, best-ball format that allowed each team to discard one score per hole.

The LPGA Tour took over the lead for good on the fifth hole, which Lewis and Kerr birdied, and Gulbis bogeyed.

Kenny Perry missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the par-four 18th hole that would have sent the match into a playoff with the LPGA Tour team for the Champions Tour Team.

Perry and Bernhard Langer did not score on all 18 holes for the Champions Tour, who were led by Fred Funk at four-under.

“As soon as he [Perry] hit that shot in there, I kind of saw last year happening all over again,” Lewis said.

“I immediately grabbed my glove and I think all three of us had it in our head that we were going to go to a playoff. It was pretty surprising he missed it, but glad to be on the right side of it this time,” she said.

“I made six birdies on the front, so it kind of got us off to a really good start,” she said. “I didn’t make as many birdies on the back side, but Cristie and Natalie kind of held me in there. The guys can kind of turn it on, it seems, whenever they want to, so we knew coming out of those last three holes we had to make some birdies.”

Billy Horschel paced the PGA Tour team, which also included Boo Weekley and Jason Day, at even-par 72. The PGA Tour team went five-over on the par-four 18th hole, where Horschel had a quadruple-bogey and Weekley bogeyed.

The LPGA Tour team received US$500,000, the second-placed Champions Tour team earned US$270,000 and the third-placed PGA Tour team got US$230,000.

It was the sixth win for the LPGA Tour in the 22 years the event has been held. The PGA Tour has claimed nine titles, while the Champions Tour has seven.

“We were so close last year, and the last couple years for that matter,” Kerr said. “We came out strong, we came out trying to win it and really got the break of Kenny missing the putt on the last hole or we would have been in another playoff. We made so many birdies, and they seemed to respond on the back nine really strong and we didn’t get lucky, but we got the break when we needed to.”

“We were extra excited [about] the win today because we lost a playoff last year,” Gulbis said. “So we were in the mix and lost a playoff to the PGA Tour, and it looked like it was almost going to go to playoff again today. So we’re pretty excited to win it.”