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Wie falls back

By Associated Press


ROGERS, Ark. » Stacy Lewis has worked tirelessly over her career to embrace the overwhelming support in her adopted state of Arkansas.

The recovering introvert finally found a way to do so while overcoming her self-imposed pressure Sunday — shooting a 6-under 65 and rallying for a much-sought-after official win in the NW Arkansas Championship.

Lewis surged into first on the final day, while Michelle Wie went the other direction.

Lewis opened the round four shots behind the first-place Wie, who led So Yeon Ryu by two strokes heading into the final 18. But Wie missed short birdie putts on the first two holes Sunday and struggled to a 1-over front nine — capped by a three-putt bogey on the ninth.

She finished with a 73 to tie for eighth at 8 under.

The whirlwind media tour following last week's win at the U.S. Women's Open appeared to finally catch up with Wie, who followed her bogey on No. 9 with bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 to effectively end her contention. She finished with 35 putts after needing 28 the first round and 29 in the second.

Lewis earned $300,000 for her third LPGA Tour victory of the year, but more importantly the 11-time winner earned a welcomed sigh of relief in front of a college-like atmosphere full of fans cheering for the former four-time All-American at Arkansas.

She earned an unofficial rain-shortened win at the tournament as an amateur in 2007, but she had struggled to match that effort since as her popularity — and ranking — soared.

"When I first came here to school, I was extremely shy, and I think I've definitely grown out of that over the years," Lewis said. "I've just found that the more I interact with fans, it makes me more relaxed, and enjoying it more is what I'm trying to do."

The top-ranked and native Texan secured the one-stroke win with a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole at Pinnacle Country Club. The putt capped a stretch of three birdies over her final four holes, helping the two-time major winner finish at 12-under 201 — one shot ahead of 17-year-old Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford.

Kerr had a chance to match Lewis at 12 under with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th. However, her putt came up short.

Then, after Ryu failed to make an eagle on the final hole, Lewis' win was secured. Ryu ended up fifth at 10 under after a 69.

With Wie coming back to the field, several players climbed up the leaderboard and into contention on the back nine — with Lewis, Ko, Kerr and Stanford part of a four-way tie atop the leaderboard at one point.

Kerr was a group behind Lewis and had chances to take the lead, but she left birdie putts short on the par-3 17th and final hole. She and Stanford finished with final-round 67s, while Ko shot 65 to be a part of the threesome that earned $141,128 for second place.

"It didn't go wrong, it just didn't go right enough," Kerr said.

Lewis won the Shoprite Classic this month as well as the North Texas Shootout in May.

Lewis was tied for the lead entering the final round last year before finishing in a tie for fourth, but her final birdie spree finally secured her sought-after win Sunday.

"(Lewis) is playing some awesome golf," Ko said. "She's having consistent top 10s like Michelle, and I think it's great that we're playing in her hometown, and the best thing is she's world No. 1 and they're proud to say it."

Lewis began the tournament 2 over after her first four holes Friday, but she closed by shooting 14 under over her final 68 holes.

She took advantage of the opening with Wie's stumble and vaulted into the solo lead at 11 under with a birdie on the par-4 16th.

Ko and Kerr answered with birdies to climb back to part of a three-way tie at 11 under, but Lewis had the last answer — a 7-foot left-to-right birdie putt on No. 18. It was one of only 25 putts on Sunday for Lewis, who needed only 24 in the second round.

It was just the start of the celebration for Lewis and her legion of Arkansas fans.

"That's why I play," Lewis said.

Kurt Voigt, Associated Press

More From The Star-Advertiser

Wie ties for 8th at NW Arkansas Championship

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hanabatadayz wrote:
too much twerking messed up her putting
on June 30,2014 | 05:28AM
frontman wrote:
A year ago, an eighth place finish would have been considered a victory. She is having fun and if she doesn't read the scum from the press and this rag she will be fine, play your game....DON'T read this rag.
on June 30,2014 | 05:36AM
kk808 wrote:
on June 30,2014 | 07:43AM
lokela wrote:
Give her credit after all New York media and stuff she still finished in the top 10. As they said ran out of gas. She really did not have to play there after her US Open win but she has some class and honored that commitment. Wish her the best at the British Open.
on June 30,2014 | 06:27AM
lava wrote:
Same old failure. Table top putting? Maybe she should try table top ping pong.
on June 30,2014 | 06:38AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Lookie here, a hater in the house. Michelle Wie made $39,000 over the weekend, how did you do? Michelle Wie has made $1.6 million this year on the tour, how are you doing. She has two tournament wins including a major and is No. 2 on the LPGA money list. Failure, hardly. Get a grip.
on June 30,2014 | 06:58AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Not only a hater, but an EXTREME jealous hater.
on June 30,2014 | 08:24AM
cojef wrote:
Just have to ignore the negative posts. All Miss Wie needs to do is keep playing her game and she will win her share. Which translate into buck$.
on June 30,2014 | 09:24AM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Keep up. It's not "same old failure" because she's now winning. The hater charge is now "only one major, failure." Nothing wrong with being a hater, but do it properly or you end you end up looking foolish.
on June 30,2014 | 07:18AM
808ikea wrote:
Wie is actually very good with that table top putting. If you look at her stats and results you'd be ignorant to deny this.
on June 30,2014 | 08:54AM
Bdpapa wrote:
A failure, no way! She didn't win yesterday but she showed poise and humility at the end. A very good player on the verge of greatness.
on June 30,2014 | 10:27AM
DAGR81 wrote:
lava, I am not a real big fan, but I'll be the first to say that she is doing really great. Maybe her parents are not interfering with her professional career.
on June 30,2014 | 02:19PM
lokela wrote:
She really did not have to play there after her US Open win. But showed class by honoring her commitment. Top ten and almost won again is not too shabby. As they said ran out of gas. Wish her the best at the British Open.
on June 30,2014 | 06:57AM
kk808 wrote:
Agree; she honored her commitment and her friend Stacy.
on June 30,2014 | 07:30AM
paulokada wrote:
Hang in there. You can't win them all. Keep going in the same direction and the Force will be with you.
on June 30,2014 | 07:01AM
808ikea wrote:
I was actually very surprised that she played that well given all the media obligations and travel. Can you imagine traveling from North Carolina, to NY, then to Arkansas in span of 3 days? I get tired just going to Maui for a three day weekend. It should be interesting to see how she does in the women's British Open.
on June 30,2014 | 08:47AM
COlohe1 wrote:
Careful, don't let the bandwagon run you over.
on June 30,2014 | 08:59AM
false wrote:
Don't worry be happy,Michelle better days are ahead. You're on a roll girl!
on June 30,2014 | 12:52PM
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