Indefatigable Stacy Lewis storms to Open glory with late run

American refuses to be blown off course by high winds and comes from behind for second major

This is how she won it in her dreams, a birdie-birdie finish at the home of golf to claim the Ricoh British Women’s Open. Pinch me. Tell me I didn’t imagine that. No she didn’t. Stacy Lewis survived a 36-hole slog in winds stiff enough to make the flags scream to claim her second major title.

What a moment for the young American, what a week for the women’s game. Like the final afternoon at the Open at Muirfield a fortnight ago, victory called out to half-a-dozen players. And just as Phil Mickelson seized the initiative there, so did Lewis blow the doors off St Andrews to take the crown.

This might not have been the grand slam finale history demanded, but even Inbee Park, she of the three successive majors this season, could hardly have fashioned a more explosive denouement. Lewis, 28, was two-down when she teed up at the Road Hole 17th. If she was going to give her rivals pause she needed to nick at least one back against par. To do so at arguably the most celebrated hole in the game was impressive enough, to snake a  30-footer downhill at the last for  another was the stuff of myth.

“It all happened so fast at the end. You are fighting for every shot then all of a sudden you make a couple of birdies and it’s all over,” Lewis said. “I love this golf course. I have played so many rounds on it. I felt so comfortable here. It almost felt like it was meant to be.”

Lewis, who had been four behind at one point in an oscillating afternoon, knows all about prevailing against the odds. As a child she was forced to wear a brace to counter curvature of her spine. The only time she was not strapped into her harness was on the golf course. At 18 she underwent surgery to keep the scoliosis from dominating her life. Lewis still walks with a steel plate in her back, held together by five screws.

She was five under par for the opening 36 holes and critically three under in the worst of the conditions, and  ended up  posting a final-round score of 72 to finish eight under par. The tournament was not won but there was talk about a birdie in the hand. Na Yeon Choi was still on the course. With six to play the South Korean held a three-shot lead. There had been no sign of frailty on a day that began at 6.15am after Saturday’s weather suspension.  Then again, the run for home, wedged alongside what was an old railway line back into town, is a brute when the wind is up. It proved too much for the Korean, who had to  settle for a share of second place with Park, two shots back.

Lewis switched off her alarm at 4.30am, so long ago she could hardly remember how the day began. Though it is hard to pick out the one shot that won the Open, the five-iron into the 17th was, she claimed, as good a shot as she has hit in her life. “One of the best of my career. I thought if I could get to seven under it might be good enough to force a play-off. On 18 my caddie and I said one more. I knew eight under in these conditions would be hard to beat.”

Lewis’s win breaks a run of successive majors won by Asian golfers. The last non-Asian to claim a big one was Lewis herself with her first major triumph two years ago at the Kraft Nabisco. So the world No 2 eclipsed the only woman in the game who stands above her, the phenomenon that is Park.

If Park had any hopes of overturning a 10-shot deficit at the start of play they went with the double bogey at the first. She was six under after 10 and   thereafter began the slide that forced her off the pages of history. Park is one of three to have claimed a hat-trick of majors in a season. Not a bad haul to fall back on when the disappointment of St Andrews has subsided.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering