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Lewis continues Player of the Year race in Japan

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Stacy Lewis is refreshed and ready to make a final run at securing the Rolex Player of the Year award.

“There’s a lot to play for these last three weeks,” Lewis said Thursday in her pre-tournament meeting with reporters at the Mizuno Classic in Japan. “I love coming to this golf course, and I feel really good about my game right now.”

Lewis, bidding to become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the Player of the Year award, leads the race with 184 points, but Inbee Parked moved within striking distance with a second-place finish last week in Taiwan. Park sits just 28 points behind. A victory is worth 30 points, second worth 12 with points awarded down to 10th place. Lewis did not play last week, but Lewis and Park are each scheduled to play the final three events of the year.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself the last two weeks in Malaysia and Korea, just knowing what’s at stake and knowing what I was playing for,” Lewis said. “I kind of had to go home last week just to regroup and remember that I went on the same kind of run as Inbee is on right now. I just did it earlier in the year. I had to realize I still had the lead and I still am the person to beat.”

Lewis grabbed a commanding lead in the Player of the Year race in September winning the Navistar Classic, her third victory of the season. Park has closed with a hard run that includes three second-place finishes and a win in her last five starts.

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