The consolation for Pressel was earning the last spot available from the world ranking to make her third straight Solheim Cup team.
It was the second time the Women's British Open was played at St. Andrews, and Lewis provided another quality winner. Lorena Ochoa won in 2007.
Lewis last year became the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win LPGA player of the year, which is based on a points system. Then, she won twice early this season to reach No. 1 in the world. That lasted only until Park won the first major and kept right on going.
Sunday was another stage for Lewis to show her grit.
She was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 11, so severe that she wore a back brace for 18 hours every day from age 11 until she got out of high school, and then had to have surgery when that didn't correct the curvature in her spine.
She went on to win an NCAA title at Arkansas, star at St. Andrews in the Curtis Cup and then take the 54-hole lead in her first U.S. Women's Open as a pro. Lewis won the Kraft Nabisco in 2011, the last American major champion in women's golf until her remarkable performance Sunday.
Nothing was more impressive than her 5-iron on the 17th, one of the toughest par 4s in golf that starts with a blind tee shot over the corner of the Old Course Hotel. Lewis drilled it in the middle of the fairway, and couldn't remember how far she had for her second shot. With the wind, it didn't matter. This is the kind of shot that must be felt, and her 5-iron was hit with the right trajectory and line to catch the slopes perfectly and feed toward the hole.
"That might be one of the best of my career," Lewis said.
Oddly enough, it was Lewis who said she would like to play the role of spoiler at St. Andrews to stop Inbee Park's bid for history. With the trophy at her side, Lewis marveled at what Park had accomplished this year.
"I don't know if you'll ever see three in a row again," Lewis said. "That's pretty incredible."
Lewis now is at one in a row, headed to the Solheim Cup in two weeks on a high, and then to France in September for the fifth and final LPGA Tour major at the Evian Championship. She didn't mind losing the No. 1 ranking because Park earned it. Lewis looked strong enough Sunday at St. Andrews to believe she can get it back one day.