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September 24, 2017

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No. 1 Stacy Lewis rallies for emotional Arkansas LPGA win

ROGERS, Arkansas -- World number one Stacy Lewis fired a six-under 65 on Sunday to seize an emotional come-from-behind triumph in the LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship.

Lewis, who attended the University of Arkansas in nearby Fayetteville, collected her 11th career victory and third of the season with a 12-under-par 201 in the 54-hole event.

She also won the North Texas LPGA Shootout and ShopRite LPGA Classic, but she admitted this one was tougher.

"I can tell you I was more nervous today than I was at the U.S. Open last week," said Lewis, who was the focus of exuberant support from fans all day.

"I think a little bit of 18 was relief that it was done because I was so stressed out all day and so on edge just wanting to pull every shot off," she added. "But then it was just excitement to hear the crowd react the way they did and just the people just to go nuts.

"I mean, that's why I play," Lewis added. "I play to get in the heat of the battle, to have that chance to win at the end."

New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko also fired a final-round 65 to jump into a share of second place with U.S. veteran Cristie Kerr (67) and American Angela Stanford (67) on 202.

South Korea's Ryu So-Yeon closed with a 69 for 203, one stroke in front of Chella Choi, of South Korea, and Norway's Suzann Pettersen.

American Michelle Wie, who was coming off her first major title at the U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst, held a two-stroke lead going into the final round but tripped to a two-over 73 to fall into a share of eighth place on eight-under 205.

Seventy-two players had to complete the second round on Sunday morning after storms halted play on Saturday, although Wie was already in the clubhouse with the lead on Saturday night.

Lewis began the final round four shots off the pace, but quickly gained ground with three birdies in her first six holes.

A three-putt bogey at the ninth was her only miscue, and she regained that stroke with a birdie at the par-three 11th.

Lewis said it was fan who alerted her at the 15th that she was within striking distance of the lead.

"Coming down to 15 a fan actually yelled, 'You're one behind,' or something like that and I didn't know where I stood at that point."

Birdies at 15 and 16 gave Lewis the lead over Kerr and Ko.

"It's just really, really special to win here," Lewis said.

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