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LPGA: 'Nervous' Lewis holds on for Singapore title

The SportsXchange

Stacy Lewis survived a pair of late bogeys to par the 72nd hole for a one-shot victory at 15-under at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore on Sunday.

The reigning Rolex Player of the Year opened a three shot lead on the back nine on The Serapong Course at the Sentosa Golf Club, but bogeyed 15 and 17 to give her playing partners - Na Yeon Choi and Paula Creamer - an opportunity to close the gap. Choi and Creamer both hit lengthy drives downwind on the par-5 18th.

Clinging to a one-shot lead Lewis busted out her driver on the closing hole for the first time all week. She hit the fairway and reached the green in two shots, but had a lengthy eagle putt that was lagged to about 10 feet. Choi narrowly missed a birdie putt that could have forced a playoff, and Lewis was able to par out for her first victory of 2013.

"All week, I played it as a three-shot hole, laying back short of the bunker and then laying up from there," Lewis said of the final hole. "And I saw where Paula hit her drive past the bunker and I turned to my caddie, and we both at the same time said driver, and I let it rip and that thing got so far down there. I think I was actually in between a 4-iron and a hybrid. So we erred on the long side and hit hybrid up on the green, and I thought I made my second putt, but just to have an inside 10 feet for birdie, that's all I was asking for."

Choi, ranked No. 2 in the world, finished one shot back at 14-under, while Creamer finished at 13-under.

Lewis reached 17-under on the ninth hole and appeared to be pulling away for her sixth career victory before the pair of birdies created a dramatic finish on the 18th.

"The last four or five holes, I was pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie," Lewis said. "That golf course is hard and it can jump up and get you at any second, and to have to play with two great players on your tail all day, and they played unbelievable, and none of us really we just couldn't get any putts to fall on the back nine. I don't know what it was. Edges just seemed a little bit tighter. Paula had a couple on the edge.

"I don't know, I just played hard and put my head down and tried to make as many putts as I could, and fortunately I came away with the win."

Lewis is expected to climb one spot to No. 3 in the world rankings. She and Choi are expected to significantly close the gap on top-ranked Yani Tseng, who finished in a tie for 28th in Singapore.

"I think this is more fun than like only one player play well, like clear-cut, because there is not really a clear-cut No. 1 right now," said Choi. "I think everybody, you know, is a good competitor with each other and motivate each other, and if someone wins, and I feel like, oh, I need to win next week, that kind of motivates. So, I feel like very excited."

Creamer enjoyed a strong tournament despite being unsure if she'd even be able to play after suffering whiplash in a car accident Sunday night. She didn't play a practice round, but enjoyed her strongest result through the first three events of the season. She will return home to Orlando and look to heal her sore neck and right shoulder before the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix on March 11.

"Geez, this is much more than what I ever expected, and to have a chance and really have a good chance to win this event, it felt good," Creamer said. "It was nice to be in contention and have just a good attitude out there. I think that's the biggest thing that I take away from this week."
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