Lots of things twinkled Friday night at the LPGA Rolex Awards Reception, from the crystal chandeliers above the red carpet, to the lights strung outside the ballroom, to the blue sparkles on Rookie of the Year So Yeon Ryu's tiny heart-shaped purse.
Accordingly, Stacy Lewis's eyes grew wide as a Golf Channel cameraman swung lights in her direction for a preshow interview. The Player of the Year pulled her head back and lifted her eyebrows.
"Bright lights," she told a reporter.
The spotlight shined all on Lewis late Friday as she accepted the women's golf top accolade at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in North Naples. The 27-year-old is the first American to be named Player of the Year since Beth Daniel in 1994.
"I'm glad this night is finally here," Lewis said before the ceremony. "It was a lot of hard work, but now I get to share it with all my friends."
Friday's awards reception was the denouement of the weeklong CME Group Titleholders tournament expected to pump millions of dollars in the local economy. Outside the ballroom, journalists stood beside a 6-foot-tall Rolex clock and waited around a velvet-roped red carpet for players to arrive.
Partygoers handed their wineglasses to event coordinators so they could pose without distraction. Piano music ushered them into the ballroom, where they were served a dinner of beef tenderloin and vanilla creme brulee.
"It's nice to be here. The golf was a little rough, but it's nice to enjoy the accomplishments of my peers tonight," said the Tampa-born Morgan Pressel, who has struggled to a 7-over 79 during Friday's second round.
Ryu, the Rookie of the Year, said she finished golfing shortly before she had to be at the reception, leaving her with little time to practice her acceptance speech. She is four shots behind second-round leader Ai Miyazato.
"Now that I'm here, I'm really nervous. Every good player is in here tonight," Ryu said, holding a heart-shaped clutch that didn't look big enough to hold anything. ("There's nothing in there. I just grabbed it," she admitted.)
Other winners at Friday's ceremony included Nancy Lopez, the recipient of the 2012 Patty Berg Award for contributions to women's golf; Sophie Gustafson, the recipient of the Heather Farr Perseverance Award for hard work, dedication and love of the game; and Ai Miyazato, the recipient of the William and Mousie Powell Award for exemplifying the spirits, ideals and values of the LPGA.
Following her time in Naples, Lewis said she planned to get some needed rest and spend time with family and friends.
"The last half of the week was crazy, so it'll be nice to reflect on this year and get to enjoy everything that's happened," she said.