Top ranked Lewis eyes next challenge

Recently crowned world number one Stacy Lewis is part of field hoping to win season's first major championship.

    Top ranked Lewis eyes next challenge
    Lewis (pictured) overtook Tseng at top of ladies rankings by winning LPGA Founders Cup in March [AP]

    Stacy Lewis returns to the scene of her first major title which came two years ago in the California desert, but this time she has the title of best player in the world next to her name.

    World number one Lewis says the first thing on her mind this week will be trying to win a tournament and not holding onto that No. 1 ranking.

    "There are so many things that I can't control," the Texas native said.

    "I can't control how Yani (Tseng) plays, how In-bee Park plays.

    "If they go out and play better than me, then I lose the No. 1 ranking. 

    "If I go out there and take care of myself, I'll be at that No. 1 ranking."

    "There are so many things that I can't control... I can't control how Yani (Tseng) plays, how In-bee Park plays"

    World number one Stacy Lewis

    The star-studded field will play host to the season's first major championship and will feature 111 players, all vying for $300,000 in first-place prize money at the Mission Hills Country Club course in Rancho Mirage, 10 miles southeast of Palm Springs.

    South Korea's Yoo Sun-young is the defending champion at the first major championship of 2013.

    Yoo may have won the title, but everyone will remember the championship as the one that compatriot Kim In-kyung lost.

    Kim's playoff record took another hit last week after Beatriz Recari defeated Kim in a two-hole sudden death playoff at the Kia Classic.

    Last year on the final hole of regulation, Kim rolled her birdie putt within a foot of the hole.

    Rather than marking and letting her partner finish, Kim went to tap in her par putt. But, her ball did a horse-shoe around the cup.

    A shocked Kim finally tapped in for bogey, which dropped her into a tie for the lead with Yoo, who was already in the clubhouse.

    Learning curve

    In the playoff, both players reached the green at the par-five 18th in three.

    But Kim left her birdie effort short and Yoo did not. Yoo rolled in her 12-footer for birdie and the shock victory. It was Yoo first major title.

    Kim says she is ready to move on from last year's disappointment.

    "I learned a lot," said Kim.

    "I think last year was big turning point of my life of learning and what's really important. It just gave me different view of it."

    The field this week will include 18 of the top 20 players in the world and 40 of the top 50.

    The youngest player is 14-year-old Angel Yin, who was the last to get in the field after she shot a five-under 67 in qualifying on Tuesday at Mission Hills.

    After a week off, the tour heads to Hawaii for the LOTTE Championship which runs from Wednesday to Saturday and was won last year by Japan's Ai Miyazato.

    SOURCE: AFP


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