FAYETTEVILLE – Former University of Arkansas women’s golfer Stacy Lewis clinched the Ladies Professional Golf Association Player of the Year honors Sunday with a tie for fourth place showing at the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
The award was tight between Lewis and Korea’s Inbee Park but Park had to win the final two events. Lewis had to finish inside the top 10 to win.
The LPGA Player of the Year Award has been given annually since 1966. The points-based award, with points accumulated throughout each LPGA season. Points are awarded for wins and top 10 finishes, with points doubled in majors.
Lewis turned professional following her storied career at Arkansas in the fall of 2008. The Woodlands, Texas, native won the LPGA’s Qualifying School but started slowly in her first season on the tour.
Lewis re-dedicated herself to the game and notched her first career tour win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011 where she defeated Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng by three shots for her first major championship victory and crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings. Lewis also recorded 10 other top 10 finishes that season.
Lewis picked up her second tour win at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in April 2012 and put the pedal down from that on. She tied for fifth in the next event and rallied to win the Shoprite LPGA Classic the first week of June. In 24 appearances this year, Lewis has four wins and 16 top 10 top finishes. She is second on the money list and third in scoring average.
That run included her third win of the year at the Navistar LPGA Classic and her most recent victory at the Mizuno Classic rallying from a seven-stroke deficit in the final round.
She is the first American woman to win the award since 1994.
Lewis was a four-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference and National Golf Coaches Association All-American at Arkansas. She paced the Razorbacks to four NCAA Regional appearances and three NCAA Championship appearances. Lewis won the NCAA individual title her junior season firing a then-course record with a 66 in the final round at the UCF/LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Lewis still holds several records for the Razorbacks including her 12 tournament victories as a collegiate golfer.