After 12 runner-up finishes since her last victory in 2014, Lewis, a former World Number One, broke through for her 12th LPGA Tour title and, in doing so, secured a cheque for US$195,000 all of which will go towards the relief fund for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, a figure then matched by her sponsors KPMG.
Lewis led by three heading into today’s final round over improving Thai golfer, Moriya Jutanugarn, but it would be Korea’s Chun who would push Lewis to the limit, the 32-year-old Lewis being forced to save par with a lengthy putt at the 17th after Chun had moved within one with a birdie at the 16th.
Then, after finding the fairway bunker at the last, Lewis was able to find the green and two-putt for par to hold off Chun who had put together a final round of 66.
Despite the popularity of the Korean, the emotion surrounding Lewis’ offer was tangible as she holed a three-footer for par at the last and the victory.
To add further to the ‘feel good’ moment was that Lewis’s husband, Gerrod, had, unknown to Lewis, flown in from Houston to be with her in what had been a demanding week where she had led over the final 54 holes.
When advised of the gesture by KPMG to match her donation to the Harvey Relief Fund, Lewis was visibly moved especially given that she makes her home in the region devastated by the force of last week’s Hurricane.
“That's unbelievable,” she said. “You know, when I said that I had the goal winning the tournament, and you got to get a lot of things right, to go your way. Just what we're going to be able to do, we're going to be able to help rebuild houses and get their homes back. That's more important than anything.
“In Gee played great, and I knew she would. I knew it was going to be hard. I was hitting a lot of good shots, a lot of good putts, and they just weren't going in. To make that up and down on 17 and then to hit the shot out of the bunker on 18, it's something you dream about.”
Brittany Altomare and Moriya Jutanugarn tied for 3rd position but such was the quality of the battle between Lewis and Chun they finished five shots out of second position.
Su Oh finished as the leading Australian when she continued to recover from her slow start on Thursday and finished tied for 29th.
Katherine Kirk shared 46th and Sarah Jane Smith was unable to capitalise on her good start to the event when finishing in a share of 55th.
The LPGA Tour now moves to Indianapolis for the Indy Women in Tech Championship ahead of the Evian Championship in France the following week.
PLAYER PROFILE: DANIELLE KANG
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