Stacy Lewis two-putted for par from 30 feet on the 18th hole to earn her second LPGA Tour win and hold off a hard-charging Lexi Thompson at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Sunday.
Lewis, a major titleholder whose other tour victory came at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, entered Sunday’s final round with a two-shot lead over Brittany Lincicome and was five-up on Thompson. She grew her pace-setting position to five shots over the field at one point in Sunday’s finale, but gave it away briefly with a water-logged bogey at the par-4 15th.
At the same time, Thompson was making a run and pulled into a share of the lead with a birdie at the par-5 16th, her fourth birdie of the back nine. Lewis, however, made sure that glimmer of hope was short-lived, as she birdied the 16th and made par on the closing two holes to secure a three-under 69 and a one-shot, 17-under triumph over the 17-year-old rookie.
"I'm glad I didn't need a playoff or anything because I was exhausted,” Lewis told reporters after a tap-in that ensured there would be no extra frames.
Thompson, who continues to show maturity beyond her years, put last year’s final-round collapse in the rear-view by matching a career-best 65 on Sunday.
“I became more consistent with my ball striking [this week] and then yeah, I had a few putts that I dropped,” said Thompson, who missed the cut in her last tourney and has struggled to get her game in gear in her first year as a tour member. “I felt so much more confident over my putts, so, you know, that's a big thing in golf.”
Thompson, who went on to become the youngest golfer to win a tour event at the Navistar LPGA Classic in September, had victory in sight at last year’s tourney in Mobile until a back-nine meltdown led to a 78 and a tie for 19th. She said the experience was good for her game.
“I wouldn't take last year's Sunday round back for anything because I learned so much from that,” said Thompson. “Then I went and won at Navistar, so I knew what not to do and how to prepare for it, so it was a big learning experience for me. I wouldn't take back that experience for anything.”