Stacy Lewis eager to add major to 2014 feats
World number one Stacy Lewis is eager to add her name to the glittering list of 2014 women`s major golf champions from the United States this week at the LPGA Championship.
All three of this year`s majors have been won by Americans, with Lexi Thompson capturing the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Michelle Wie triumphing at the US Women`s Open and Mo Martin rallying to take the Women`s British Open.
Lewis, 29, has two majors on her resume, but none have come this year, even though she`s nabbed three titles this season to climb back to the top of the world rankings.
"You know, it`s been great to see Lexi get that major win, even better to see Michelle get the win at Pinehurst," Lewis said this week. "And you know, I would definitely like to add my name to that list and get a major win. That`s what we`re all out here for."
Lewis is near the lead in nearly every statistical category on the LPGA tour this year, but says she never gets complacent.
"I have high expectations for myself," she said. "That`s just who I am. I`m pretty tough on myself in that aspect, but I think that`s what drives me to get better."
Lewis overtook South Korean Park In-Bee atop the rankings on June 2. Park`s number-one ranking had been under threat for weeks as she sought to find the form that saw her win the first three majors of 2013.
That included a playoff win over Catriona Matthew in the LPGA Championship, which last year was played in June.
Park, motivated by her fall from the top of the rankings, stormed to her first LPGA title of 2014 at the Manulife Financial Classic in Canada on June 8.
On Sunday, she lost in a playoff to compatriot Lee Mi-Rim in Michigan, and says struggles with the putter have kept her from winning more this year.
"I feel like my game is actually improving, except for the putter," she said. "I mean, that`s it, because last year I just putted so well. I just holed so many putts, and this year my game, my ball striking, my greenside chipping, and everything has really improved.
"But it`s so hard to beat whatever I did last year," she added. "I knew that before I started this season I was going to have a challenge to beat that record."Not only have all three major winners so far this season been American, they`ve all been first-time Grand Slam champions, and that`s a trend New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko will hope to extend.
The 17-year-old has two victories this season, bringing her total on the tour to four. She has also notched six other top-10 finishes to climb to second in the world rankings.
A victory could take her to number one in the world -- if Lewis finishes worse than second.
The poised youngster wasn`t about to get ahead of herself, however.
"I`m just going to take it day by day," she said. "If it goes my way, great, and then if I become world number one, it`s even better. But I`m not going to think about it. I`m just going to try and enjoy it and try to think of it as a normal, another LPGA event."
Michelle Wie won`t get a chance to contend for a second major of the year here, as she`s recovering from a finger injury.
Martin has been battling a sore thumb but despite playing with pain said her bid was "looking hopeful."
But Thompson must be the likeliest candidate to add a second major of the year, and she was looking forward to the attempt.
"It`s been a great year," Thompson said. "I`ve just been trying to take the positives out of every tournament and keep on working to improve on my game because it`s always an ongoing process."