Golf: Michelle Wie struggles early, Stacy Lewis rallies for victory
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.
Michelle Wie began the final round with a two-shot lead after back-to-back 5-under 66s, but she missed short birdie putts on the first two holes 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 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.
She 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.
“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.”
Quicken Loans National
BETHESDA, Md. — Justin Rose got his mistake out of the way one hole early and won the Quicken Loans National in a playoff Sunday over Shawn Stefani.
Tied for the lead as he played the 18th hole at Congressional, Rose tried to hit through two trees left of the fairway and overturned the shot. It ran down a bank and into the water, and he had to hole a 15-foot bogey putt just to stay in the game.
Behind him, Stefani made bogey on the 17th and narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 18th to set up the first playoff in the eight-year history of this event.
And then it was Stefani who essentially repeated Rose’s mistake on the first extra hole at No. 18.
After taking a drop because the grandstands blocked his view of the green, he wanted to play his low punch to the right side of the green. His shot also had too much turn and bounded into the water. Rose hit the middle of the green from the fairway and two-putted for par. Stefani made double bogey.
Senior Players Championship
PITTSBURGH — Bernhard Langer made a short birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Jeff Sluman to win the Senior Players Championship.
Langer appeared to be in trouble when his second shot on the par-5 18th ended up in the rough short of the green. He hit a brilliant pitch to 5 feet and made the putt after Sluman’s birdie attempt rolled just wide.
The victory was the 56-year-old Langer’s third of the year and his third major title on the Champions Tour. The two-time Masters champion shot an even-par 70 to finish at 15-under 265 at Fox Chapel.
Sluman had a bogey-free 65 to match Langer, but narrowly missed a birdie putt on the first playoff hole that would have won it.
By wire sources
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