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.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album