Lewis cruises to ShopRite LPGA Classic title

Stacy Lewis shot just even-par 71 on Sunday, but still had a large enough advantage to cruise to a four-stroke victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Lewis essentially wrapped up the win during the first two rounds, when she carded back-to-back six-under 65s. The American carried a six-stroke lead into Sunday, and none of her competitors could catch up during the third and final round.

Lewis, who finished the tournament at 12-under par 201, added another victory to her stellar season. She won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic at the end of April, and has recorded seven top-10s overall.

Sunday's victory will push Lewis up to the No. 3 position in the women's world rankings. She will supplant Cristie Kerr, currently No. 5, as the top-ranked American.

Katherine Hull (68) took second place at minus-eight, while Mika Miyazato (68) and Azahara Munoz (69) shared third at seven-under.

While Lewis ended up with a four-stroke victory, she threatened to take a record win thanks to a strong front nine.

She birdied three and four, then made back-to-back birdies again at seven and eight. That pushed her score to 16-under par and made her lead nearly too big.

"It was so hard out there," Lewis said. "Having a huge lead like that was really tough to keep your concentration, and I kind of lost it in the middle of the round."

Lewis stumbled to a bogey at the ninth, starting a rough four-hole stretch. She double-bogeyed the 11th, and a bogey at the next hole put her back at minus-12.

"I know people don't like this, but I kind of slammed my putter after my three-putt on 12, and honestly, it relieved me so much," Lewis said. "It got all the tension that was in my hands. I was so stressed out and it just got all my tension out, and from 13 on, I felt great. I kind of got my rhythm back and got my feel back."

Lewis rebounded with a birdie at 14, and while she gave that stroke back at 15, she parred out to keep her lead secure.

More than that, the victory further cemented Lewis as one of the game's best players. Her first title came at the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year, and in 2012, she's proven it was no fluke.

"She's playing great," said Paula Creamer, who finished in a tie for eighth at five-under. "It's unfortunate nobody put really any pressure on her today. We were all kind of packed in right there and she took advantage of it yesterday and made a lot of birdies, and you can do that on this course, especially with Stacy when she starts making putts. They all seem to go in. Kind of like Yani [Tseng] with the confidence. And it's great for women's golf."

NOTES: Lewis earned $225,000 for the victory...American teenager Lexi Thompson (67) shared fifth with Hee-Won Han (69) and Anna Nordqvist (71) at minus- six...Tseng, ranked No. 1 in the world, shot one-over 72 and was in a large group tied for 12th at minus-three...Next week the LPGA heads to Pittsford, New York for the Wegmans LPGA Championship, the second major of the season.