Stacy Lewis is starting an important summer push into some of the year’s biggest events at a venue this week that has been very good to her.
Lewis will tee it up Friday at the ShopRite Classic looking for her first victory of 2015. She’s doing so at a site that has been home to two of her 11 LPGA career titles. She won last year at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club and also won there in 2012.
“I just like this golf course because it’s kind of old school, just the way golf was made to be played,” Lewis said in her pretournament news conference.
Lewis won the 54-hole event in a six-shot rout last year. The victory allowed Lewis to ascend to No. 1 in the world for the second time in her career. She took back the top spot from Inbee Park and held it for 21 weeks before Park took it back again late last year.
“The first couple times I played here, I honestly hated it,” Lewis said of the Seaview Bay Course. “I was like, `This golf course is terrible.’ But once you take a chance to really get to know it and really learn the little bounces, learn where to hit to certain pins, that’s the huge advantage.”
The women’s season is about to heat up with three major championships scheduled over the next nine weeks.
“I took some time off last week and didn’t play as much golf as I normally do just because of the business of this stretch and to really get ready for these next few weeks,” Lewis said. “I’ve talked all year about how the summertime is when you want to be playing your best golf. That's when we have our biggest events, the most number of events. So this, really, for a lot of people, and for me, is a kick start into the rest of the year.”
Lewis isn’t the only player pacing herself. Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko is taking this week off after last week’s break in the schedule. Ko appeared to be feeling the effects of a busy run leading into the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She played five of six weeks leading into the ANA and ended up tying for 51st there, her lowest finish this season. Lewis felt the same challenge finishing last season’s run that ended with her sweeping the Rolex Player of the Year Award, Vare Trophy for low scoring average and money title.
“The last few years, I get to about August, and I'm exhausted,” Lewis said. “It’s usually around the Canadian Open, where I have no energy left. And so I've really tried to plan my schedule out better to take weeks off and to go do other things. I took [last] weekend off, spent Memorial Day and everything with my family. You have to do that stuff. It's just shut it down, put the clubs away.”
Lewis is playing well but has been frustrated trying to claim her first victory this year. She has finished second three times and third once. She has top-10 finishes in seven of 10 starts this year.
“I'm not too concerned,” Lewis said. “I'm doing a lot of really good things right now. A couple of those tournaments I'd like to have won, but that's golf. It’s getting harder and harder to win out here. There are some amazing players right now. I’ve just got to keep doing what I'm doing because obviously there's nothing wrong with it.”