Lilia Vu is once again the Rolex World No. 1 player after returning to the winner’s circle for the fourth time this season.
The 26-year-old won in her first start at The Annika driven by Gainbridge at the Pelican Golf Club with a final score of 19-under. Vu defeated runner-ups Alison Lee and Azahara Munoz by three shots.
After tying the LPGA 54-hole record, Emily Kristine Pedersen struggled Sunday, carding a 4-over 74 to finish T5.
Despite four victories this season, it never gets easier.
“I think each win of mine has had its own battle, and I think today was again myself… I think the wheels were falling off early in the back nine,” Vu said. “Then my caddie said to me, ‘Hey, it doesn’t matter where you hit it on the green; you can make a putt from anywhere.’”
That was just what Vu needed to hear.
“I think that flipped my mindset. I was getting negative and then just flipped a switch and just thought positive thoughts, and then it just all worked itself out.”
She signed for a final-round 66, giving her four rounds in the 60s. Vu went 67-66-62-66 on a challenging course. These tracks are when Vu shines the brightest and learns the most about herself.
“I know I tend to be hard on myself,” she said, smiling. “As long as I set myself kind of easy, just to be in contention on the weekend, then it kind of just somehow happens.”
Vu got her day off to a strong start as she went 3-under through six holes with birdies on the 3rd, 4th and 6th. Her lone bogey of the day came at the par-3 12th, but that didn’t deter her.
The former UCLA Bruin notched two more birdies on 15 and 16 to finish at 4-under on the day.
“It’s mindset. I think it’s all been mindset for me,” Vu said. “I’m not a technical player. I try and play the course the way it’s given to me and then just go from there. It’s not over until the 18th hole, so just play every shot the way you intend it.”
“The next shot could be the best shot you ever hit. And that’s a mindset I think about all the time. I think that helps with calming the nerves and doing what’s in front of me and being where my feet are.”
This victory can be credited in part to Texas Roadhouse and their steak.
On Friday night, Vu and her caddie Cole Pensanti went to Texas Roadhouse. On Saturday, she fired off a 62.
She ate there again Saturday night, which prompted Vu to call it a “win brought to you by Texas Steakhouse.”
She became the first golfer since Annika Sorenstam in 2005 to win two majors and play in the Solheim Cup the same year. Vu also clinched the Rolex Annika Major Award by winning the AIG Women’s Open and the Chevron Championship.
This honor recognizes the player who has the most outstanding record in all five major championships during the LPGA season.
She became the second American to win this award since it began in 2014 when Michelle Wie West won it.
This victory added 500 Race to the CME Globe points as she chips away at Celine Boutier’s lead. Vu sits second in the standings with 2,981.968 points. She is just 95 points behind the Frenchwoman, who missed the cut at The ANNIKA.
Both women have four wins on the season. Boutier has eight top 10s, while Vu has six. Next week in Naples at the CME Group Tour Championship will be interesting to watch.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.