Lewis in control at Kraft.


RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Stacy Lewis didn’t think it would take this long to return to the top of a major championship leaderboard, but she’s learned a lot in her journey.

Lewis is hoping the education will help her in a bid to win the Kraft Nabisco as she continued her run Friday with a 3-under-par 69, good for a three-shot lead when she left the course as the afternoon wave was going off.

Almost three years after she made a run at winning the U.S. Women’s Open in her first professional tournament, Lewis, 26, is looking in control as she seeks to win her first LPGA event in her third season on tour.

“I thought coming off that U.S. Open it would be kind of instant success and I'd be rolling right along, but I kind of hit a rut a little bit at the end of my rookie year, and I was kind of lost,” Lewis said. “I was like, `What am I doing out here?’ And I didn't really know what to do.”

Lewis regrouped and found a new swing coach in Joe Hallett.

“I've just been working hard, and it's all about the process,” Lewis said. “People say that all the time, but you’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to prepare.”

Lewis led the U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen through 54 holes but struggled to a closing 78 and tied for third with Inbee Park winning.

“One swing can completely change a round,” Lewis said. “That’s what I found out in the last round at Interlachen.

“I was just trying to stay patient and positive [today].”