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Notes: Lewis tries to end American LPGA drought

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For so much of the summer, Stacy Lewis was poised to become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win LPGA Player of the Year.

Not so fast.

Inbee Park won in Malaysia and then two weeks later was on the cusp of another win until Suzann Pettersen ran her down on the final day to win in Taiwan.

Even so, the runner-up finish was enough to get Park to within 28 points of Lewis. Wins are worth 30 points, with 12 points for second, nine for third, on down to one point for 10th place.

Lewis, who has three wins and three second-place finishes this year, and Park are each playing the LPGA’s final three tournaments – the Mizuno Classic in Japan, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the season-ending Titleholders in Naples, Fla.

Betsy King in 1993 is the last American to win the LPGA money title, though that appears to be out of reach for Lewis. Park's late run has put the South Korean atop the money list by just over $533,000, though the Titleholders pays $500,000 to the winner.


ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR: It took more than 100 years of the U.S. Amateur before a player – Tiger Woods – won it three straight times. Hideki Matsuyama will be going after his third straight Asia-Pacific Amateur title this week in Thailand.

The championship is only in its fourth year.

At stake for the winner is a spot in the Masters and being exempt into International Final Qualifying for the British Open. Matsuyama has made the cut twice in The Masters, and he won on the Japan Golf Tour.

''I was able to win twice so that I was able to go to the Masters twice,'' he said. ''So I am really looking forward to winning again this time in Thailand.''

The tournament will be played at Amata Spring, where Matsuyama played for British Open qualifying.


PADRAIG'S RUN: Padraig Harrington lost a 54-hole lead and was runner-up in the Italian Open on May 2, 1999, moving him up to No. 83 in the world ranking. He replaced Paul McGinley as the highest-ranked player from the Republic of Ireland, and that didn't change for more than 13 years.

Shane Lowry won the Portugal Masters, and his fifth-place finish in the BMW Masters moved him to No. 57, making him Ireland's highest-ranked player.

Harrington skipped the BMW Masters to play as an alternate in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which he won to earn $600,000 (but no ranking points). Harrington is at No. 59.

Harrington has finished the season as Ireland's top golfer in the world ranking every year since 1997.


'SENATOR' FRITSCH: Brad Fritsch of Canada finally made it to the PGA Tour, and he's bringing his favorite NHL team with him.

The Ottawa Senators have announced a partnership with the 34-year-old Fritsch, who earned his card by finishing 18th on the Web.com Tour money list. The Senators will provide financial support, and Fritsch will wear its logo on his shirt and golf bag.

''I am overjoyed to partner with and represent the NHL team that I've grown up with the last 20 years,'' Fritsch said. ''It is an honor and a pleasure to be associated with the Senators, and my hope is that this is a partnership that will last for many, many years.''

Fritsch starts his season in January, and he can only hope the NHL is playing by then.


DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are the only players from Europe's winning Ryder Cup team who are not playing in the HSBC Champions. The U.S. team is missing Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson and Jim Furyk. ... The Australian Masters found a title sponsor in Talisker, a single-malt Scotch whisky. It will be played at Kingston Heath and have five hours of live television coverage each round. Ian Poulter is the defending champion.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods matched a career-best with 28 birdies in Malaysia. He also had 28 birdies in the 2006 Buick Open, which he won by three shots, and the 2007 Tour Championship, which he won by eight shots. In Malaysia, he tied for fourth.


FINAL WORD: ''Piling up the cash. Just need to get a win.'' – Robert Garrigus, after his fourth runner-up finish this year at the CIMB Classic.