Stacy Lewis will be bolstered by a lot of good memories in her bid this week to win for the first time in a year.
It’s hard to believe, but Lewis’ victory at last year’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship was her last. It’s hard to believe because she has been such a fixture on leaderboards since that victory.
Since winning at Pinnacle Country Country Club last year, Lewis has finished second five times. She has finished top 10 in almost half her starts since (12 of 26).
The mojo runs high for Lewis as a Razorback. She’s a University of Arkansas graduate. She’s in the school’s Hall of Fame. She actually won this event when she was an amateur in 2007, taking the weather-shortened LPGA NW Arkansas Championship title. It’s considered an unofficial victory because the event was shortened to a single round.
Lewis, 30, is playing the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship for the ninth time. She birdied three of the final four holes last year to win, coming from two shots behind Michelle Wie in the final round.
“I feel a little bit more relaxed this year, just having gotten the win,” Lewis said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself the last few years to get the win. To do it last year, and just coming back and seeing the highlights, seeing the videos, it's probably one of the coolest wins of my career. I love this place. I love coming back, and I'm looking forward to a really good week.”
Lewis made a hard run at chances to win earlier this year. She finished second to Inbee Park at the Honda Thailand, second to Hyo Joo Kim at the JTBC Founders Cup and second losing to Brittany Lincicome in a playoff at the ANA Inspiration. She wasn’t happy with her form going into her last start at the KPMG Women’s PGA. She missed the cut at the Manulife Classic three weeks ago, her first missed cut in almost two years.
“My game hasn't exactly been where I've wanted it this year,” Lewis said. “The look early in the year maybe wasn't perfect, but I was still playing well, having good finishes, and the last month or so kind of caught up with me.”
Lewis said she went “back to the drawing board” with swing coach Joe Hallett and like the progress she saw in her T-13 finish at the Women’s PGA.
“Made some good strides in Westchester, felt like I played a little bit better there and did some good work last week and into this week,” Lewis said. “I really like the direction I'm going and that's all it is. It's really kind of just working on little things and building into it, but I'm making some better swings and making some putts.”