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
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss