Lewis now the top-ranked American in women's golf

By Randall MellJune 4, 2012, 1:05 am

Out of the way, folks.

Stacy Lewis is playing through, and she’s playing fast.

Move over Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer, there’s a new face leading the way in American women’s golf.

It’s a sweet, cherubic face belying a certain ruthless, competitive spirit that appears determined to lead the red, white and blue back to prominence in the women’s game.

With her runaway victory Sunday at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Lewis is projected to move to No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, which will make her the top American in the world.

“I don’t know what to say, it’s just so unbelievable,” Lewis said. “You can see yourself getting there eventually, but for it to happen, it’s unbelievable. For it to happen this quickly is pretty surprising.”

Kerr has reigned supreme over USA golf as the highest ranked American since November of 2009. Really, though, Kerr has dominated that role for a half dozen years. She’s the only American to hold the No. 1 ranking. Paula Creamer was the top American when the rankings made their debut in 2006, and she’s the only other player besides Kerr to hold the top American ranking.

The American landscape is changing quickly, though.

Lewis has now won the LPGA’s last two stroke-play events. She won the Mobile LPGA Classic last month. She won in Mobile with four consecutive rounds in the 60s, and then she opened ShopRite with a pair of 65s.

Lewis is smoking hot.

Despite a stumble with a double bogey and pair of bogeys in the middle of her round Sunday at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club outside Atlantic City, Lewis still won by four shots.

When Lewis won in Mobile, 17-year-old American Lexi Thompson was second. In another sign the American landscape is changing, Thompson was once again the highest ranked American behind Lewis on Sunday, tying for fifth.

Though Lewis won her first major last year, beating world No. 1 Yani Tseng head to head in a final-round duel at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Lewis felt overlooked coming into this season.

“It does put a little bit of a chip on your shoulder,” Lewis said. “Even last year, I got a little bit overlooked. It was definitely motivation coming into this year.”

Lewis, 27, is mounting a charge up more than the American ranks. With her Sunday victory, Lewis moved to second in the Rolex Player of the Year points race behind Tseng. Lewis is within reach of catching Tseng, who has won the last two Rolex POY awards. Tseng has 120 Rolex points, Lewis 99. With a victory this coming week counting double at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, there will be 60 points available to the winner.

No American has won Rolex Player of the Year honors since Beth Daniel did so in 1994. No American has won the LPGA money title since 1993.

It’s a good time, in that regard, for an American to get hot. There are two majors and three of the richest purses in women’s golf over the next five events this summer.

Lewis wants Tseng’s No. 1 ranking, but she’s realistic. Tseng’s so far ahead in world-ranking points, nobody’s going to catch her anytime soon. Still, Lewis and Kerr might have the best combination of game and moxie to catch Tseng. Lewis has won three times in the last 15 months, more than any other American. Kerr hasn’t won in that span.

“It’s always in the back of my head, it’s just hard when Yani’s so far ahead,” Lewis said. “It’s going to take chipping away at it.”

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship

Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.