ERIN, Wis. – English dynamo Tom Lewis measured his game against American dynamo Patrick Cantlay in a, 3-and-l, loss Friday in the third round at the U.S. Amateur.
What did Lewis learn?
“Patrick’s got a much better short game than mine,” Lewis told GolfChannel.com after his loss. “That helps him a lot in match play. I didn’t feel like I hit the ball well enough off the tee to put him under much pressure. Obviously, I’m disappointed, but at the same time he’s a better all-around player at this moment in time. I’m just going to have to work on certain things.”
Lewis was the low amateur at the British Open this summer; Cantlay the low amateur at the U.S. Open. Lewis shot that 65 in the first round at Royal St. George’s, the lowest score posted by an amateur in Open history. Cantlay shot that 60 at the Travelers. With all of Cantlay’s success in professional events this summer, and with Lewis preparing to turn pro in three weeks, Lewis craved this kind of gauge.
“I need to get physically stronger, so I can control the ball more,” Lewis said. “Normally, it’s really good, but this week it kind of lapsed. It’s kind of put me on my back foot, so I’m going to have to work through it. It’s not the end of the world. I’m disappointed, but at the same time, it will be nice to get home, get into the gym and get ready for the Walker Cup and turning pro.'
Lewis, 20, will make his final amateur appearance in two weeks in the Walker Cup in Scotland. Two weeks after that, he is hopeful he’ll make his professional debut on a sponsor’s invite at the European Tour’s Austrian Open. He hopes to follow up the next week with another sponsor’s invite to the Alfred Dunhill Links at St. Andrews.
Lewis is trying to follow Rory McIlroy’s footsteps and avoid European Tour Qualifying School by earning tour membership off the money list this fall. Lewis can accept up to seven sponsor invites in his bid to do so.
“You’d have to earn about 230,000 Euros to have a chance to qualify for the tour without going to Q-School,” Lewis said. “It’s a tough task, but if I play well, I feel like I can do it.”
Despite his loss to Cantlay, Lewis was pleased he advanced to the third round of the U.S. Amateur. He believes it will solidify his place among the top 10 in the Royal & Ancient’s world amateur rankings when they come out again next Wednesday. That’s important because it would allow Lewis to skip the first stage of European Tour Q-School next month.
The second stage of Q-School is the first week of December with the final stage in mid-December.
Lewis, of course, will be aiming to avoid Q-School’s rigors entirely by proving himself on sponsor invites in European Tour events.
“If I can get into those events I want to get into, it will be great,” Lewis said. “I think I can get into seven events. I’ve kind of planned a schedule I feel is right for me, but we’ll see how that goes.”
Asked if he has interest in sponsor invites to PGA Tour fall series events, Lewis said his focus for now is on earning a European Tour card.