By JOHN ZENOR, Associated Press
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Stacy Lewis won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour title, holding off hard-charging teen Lexi Thompson by a stroke.
Lewis, who held a five-stroke lead early in the day, reclaimed the edge with a birdie on No. 16, while the 17-year-old Thompson parred the final hole and had to wait.
Lewis parred out. Her week was so solid that her finishing 3-under 69 was her worst round en route to a 17-under 271 total. The former Arkansas star also won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
"I feel like I've been close ever since then just to winning and people say I haven't been winning, just kind of knocking on the door," said Lewis, who won $187,500. "It's nice to get it out of the way.
"I fought. I'm exhausted. I'm glad I didn't have to play more holes."
Thompson found redemption from her final-round fall in Mobile a year ago. She didn't flinch under the pressure given a second shot, closing with rounds of 66 and 65, tying her career low in a bogey-free round.
"l wouldn't take last year's Sunday round back for anything, because I learned so much out of that," Thompson said. "I learned what not to do. It was a really big learning experience."
Thompson said she didn't check out the scores on No. 18. "I looked away," she said.
Lewis secured the win with a two-putt par from the edge of the green. Karine Icher of France closed with a 68 to finish third, two strokes back.
It ended up as a duel of two young Americans, though.
Thompson signaled that this one would be different from 2011 with a long chip-in for birdie on the par-3 second hole.
She was seeking her second straight Alabama win after becoming the youngest LPGA Tour winner in September at the Navistar LPGA Classic. She got her tour card a few weeks later.
"I wouldn't take back any shot that I hit," Thompson said. "I hit it pretty good. Just really relaxed out there. I'm just a lot more experienced with learning from bad rounds like last year."
Thompson signed autographs, while Lewis strolled toward the green and said she didn't "see any of her 18th hole." Lewis raised both arms after sinking her short clinching putt, seemingly more relieved than exuberant in the moment.
Lewis spent her teen years in a back brace with scoliosis, then had surgery that corrected her spine with five screws and a steel rod.
Lewis had birdied holes 15-17 each of the past two days, when she was a combined 9 under on the back nine.
"I just didn't quite have it today," she said, "but I found a way to get it done."
Se Ri Pak had the previous low score in the tournament's first three years at 13 under in 2010.
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