St. Andrews, Scotland — Stacy Lewis birdied the final two holes on Sunday to lock up her second major championship title as she won the Women’s British Open by two strokes.
With those closing birdies, Lewis ended with an even-par 72 on the Old Course at St. Andrews. She finished her eighth LPGA Tour title at 8-under-par 280.
“I felt so comfortable on this golf course all week,” Lewis said on TV. “I felt so comfortable all week. I just hung in there, hung in there today, and to finish the way I did is just awesome.”
Lewis’ win snapped a streak of 10 straight non-American winners in the majors. That was the longest such streak in LPGA Tour history. Lewis was actually the last American major champion thanks to her win at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco.
Lewis joined Sherri Steinhauer as the only two American women to win the Women’s British Open since it became a major in 2001.
Second-round leader Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park both shot 1-over 73 in the final round to finish in a share of second place at 6-under-par 282.
Morgan Pressel, who led after the third round was completed earlier Sunday, stumbled to a 4-over 76 in the final round. She dipped into a tie for fourth at minus-5 with Suzann Pettersen (74).
Lizette Salas grabbed sixth place at 3-under 285. Miki Saiki (77) and Mamiko Higa (75) shared seventh at minus-2.
Natalie Gulbis (70) and Nicole Castrale (74) were the final two players in red figures at 1-under 287.
Inbee Park, who had won the season’s first three majors, never challenged the lead after starting the tournament 6-under par through 10 holes. She capped off a 2-over 74 when the third round was finished earlier Sunday, then faltered to a 6-over 78 in the final round to end at 6-over 294.
The conclusion of the third round was pushed into Sunday as strong wind halted play on Saturday. Players remained in the same groups for both rounds, and the final seven pairings all had to play the final 36 holes on Sunday.
Lewis was among a cluster of six players that battled for the lead through the final round. She bogeyed the second and fourth to slide to minus-6, where she was two off the pace.
However, Lewis fought back with birdies at six and seven to gain a share of the lead at minus-8. She parred three in a row from the eighth.
Around the turn, Lewis again fell down the leaderboard as she stumbled to back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12. She was three back of Choi at that point.
Lewis got one stroke back with a birdie on the 14th, but she gave that eight back with a bogey on 15.
Choi faltered to consecutive 3-putt bogeys at 13 and 14 to fall to 7-under, where she was one clear of Lewis.
At the famous road hole, No. 17, Lewis’ approach shot stopped within four feet. She knocked that in for birdie and a share of the lead.
Lewis hit a solid drive down the left side at the 18th and putted her second to about 30 feet. She poured in her birdie try to grab the lead at minus-8. Then it was off to the putting green to wait and see if anyone could catch her.
Pettersen and Pressel, who were in the mix early, couldn’t get close enough down the stretch. That left it to Choi, who was in the final pairing, five groups behind Lewis.
Choi steadied herself with pars at 15 and 16 to remain one back. Her approach at the 17th ran into the back rough. Choi chipped within five feet, but she failed to convert the par attempt.
At the last, Choi hit her drive down the left side, but wasn’t as close to the green as Lewis had been. Choi needed to hole her second to force a playoff, but was unable to do so and the title was Lewis’.
“The major motivation was just being here (at St. Andrews),” Lewis said. “I love this place, I love the history that surrounds it. I wanted to win here so bad, and I putted so well this week. I had a bunch of putts not go in and I just hung in there and was very patient, and I think that was the difference.”
Lewis collected $402,583 for the win and went over the $1 million mark for the third time in her career … Lewis also played at St. Andrews in the Curtis Cup in 2008 and went 5-0 that week … In two weeks, the top players from the LET and the LPGA will face off in Colorado at the Solheim Cup.