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Maria Fassi takes notes from Stacy Lewis, opens Evian in 68

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Maria Fassi partnered with former world No. 1 Stacy Lewis in last week's Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, where the pair tied for 12th, Fassi’s best finish since the 2020 Marathon LPGA Classic, still site of her last top-10 on tour.

The mentoring Lewis provided that week proved successful on Thursday, as Fassi opened her first round at the Amundi Evian Championship with a 3-under 68 and sits three shots back of early leader Pajaree Anannarukarn.

“I asked her [Stacy] a million questions,” Fassi said. “From what it is that she does on practice rounds to what she is looking for, to why she's hitting some of the shots she was or why she plays the way she plays.”

Fassi is ranked fifth on the LPGA in driving distance (277.81 yards), but she's outside the top 100 in driving accuracy and greens in regulation.

“I think my distance and my aggressive play are always going to be a part of me and I don't think I need to shy away from that,” Fassi added. “Hearing the reasoning behind Stacy’s and seeing the results she's had, I think it makes a lot of sense, but also is something that I think I can relate to. I need to embrace that that's how I play the game, but also be smarter in some other areas and know when to use it and when to hold back.”

Fassi took Lewis’ advice into the first round at the Evian, making four birdies and only one bogey.

Full-field scores from The Amundi Evian Championship

Evian Resort Golf Club is no stranger to Fassi, who played in the Arnold Palmer Cup there in 2018. Many of her teammates are now on the LPGA and PGA Tour, including Jennifer Kupcho, Kristan Gillman, Lauren Stephenson and recent Open winner Collin Morikawa.

“Talking to some of the girls that we were here a few years back, and now we're playing in the real deal. It's just so much fun to come back to a place where I have good memories,” Fassi said. “I hit some crazy shots that you wouldn't really do on a regular tournament, but I kind of know that if I need them, I know how to hit them, too. I have a lot of good from Palmer Cup. I was fortunate enough today to kind of stay in a good rhythm [today] and put a good round together.”