PHOENIX – Stacy Lewis plays with a fiery nature, but she’s trying to tone down the emotional heat.
She’s trying to learn something from the South Koreans.
Lewis said patience helped in her round of 7-under-par 65 Friday at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. She moved into third place, four shots off the lead, in a bid to win back-to-back LPGA events and claim the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.
Lewis can sport a formidable scowl when her golf ball doesn’t behave. She can thump misbehaving clubs as well, against her bag, but she says, ultimately, she believes a cool head will help her in the game’s toughest tests, like the U.S. Women’s Open.
“The last couple years, that’s been my nemesis,” Lewis said. “The U.S. Open is such a mental test. I think that’s one of the reasons the South Koreans have done so well in it. They’re so strong mentally, and very steady. That’s not my forte. I tend to get emotional out there, but it’s something I’m working on and want to get better at.”
South Koreans have won four of the last five U.S. Women’s Opens.
“The fire is still going to be there, it’s never going to go away, it’s just about keeping it under control, and not letting it kind of fester,” Lewis said. “I look at the U.S. Open, especially the one in Colorado [two years ago]. I was right in there and let an eight- or nine-hole stretch ruin the whole golf tournament for me. I’m just trying to put everything in perspective and realize a bad hole, or bad couple holes, is going to happen, occasionally, and not let it fester over a longer period.”
Joe Hallett, Lewis’ coach, works patience into his work with her swing.
“I want her to have some of that fire,” Hallett said. “It’s an emotional outlet, and I think with her, she turns it into the attitude, `I can do better.’
“Stacy’s goal is consistency, and there is acceptable error. It’s not about perfection.”
Lewis hit a perfect shot from the 16th fairway Friday. After starting her round on the back nine, she holed a 52-degree wedge from 109 yards for eagle to jump start her round.