LPGA: Stacy Lewis Clinches Player of the Year

posted by Sarah Hallett, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 12:59pm EST

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November 13, 2012-Stacy Lewis didn't need to win this past weekend at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to lock up the Rolex Player of of the Year award but she needed someone other than Inbee Park to lift the trophy. With a little help from fellow American Cristie Kerr who collected her first victory in two years, Lewis will become the first American since Beth Daniels in 1994 to claim the esteemed award.

Park for her part came close with a tie for second though she needed to not only win in Mexico but would also need to win at the season ending event the CME Group Titleholders this week to clinch the award. Though that would be a tough task for most golfers Park has proven this year that she is one of the elite players on the tour with a sensational season and has the upper hand to claim the money title. 

Park who won the Evian Master's and the SIME Darby LPGA Malaysia also had twelve top-ten finishes and came in second six times this season. It has been a phenomenal year all around for the South Korean who joined the tour in 2007 and has moved up to 3rd in the Rolex World Rankings.

Lewis however has won four times this season with sixteen top-ten finishes and currently sits behind only Park on the year end money list. She has already held the spot of "top-American" on tour with her ranking of second in the world behind Yani Tseng. However the distinction of Player of the Year is something that an American has not enjoyed for almost twenty years. It is also an award that has in the last decade been dominated by the names of Tseng, Ochoa and Sorenstam.

“After I finally made my last putt there on 18, I think it finally hit me,” Lewis said this past weekend. “It’s just crazy to think that there have been so many great American players and I am the one after Beth in ’94.”

If Lewis manages to squeak out another win and Park fails to post a good finish this weekend then it is possible that Lewis can also steal the money title. First place at the CME Group Titleholders is $500,000 and Lewis is just a hair over $400,000 behind Park. It has been since 1993 when Betsy King won the money title that an American also won in that category.

The Vare Trophy which is decided by the lowest scoring average will also come down to the final weekend with several players including Park and Lewis in the mix to take that prestigious award. Rookie of the Year has been sealed by So Yeon Ryu who hardly played like a rookie winning the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic this season as well as posting fifteen top-ten finishes. Ryu earned her LPGA card last year however when she won the 2011 Women's U.S. Open after spending three years as a professional on the Korean tour.

The final tournament of the year will take place in Naples, FL and will be broadcast on the Golf Channel (November 15-18th 1:30-4:00pm EST). It is the second year for the tournament with every player having to qualify throughout the season to claim their place in the field thus featuring the best of the best for the final tournament of the season. 

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