Stacy Lewis didn’t take long after winning on Sunday to FaceTime with her nearly 22-month-old daughter.
After rolling in a 24-foot birdie putt to win on the first playoff hole at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, Lewis made the long-distance connection to her husband, Gerrod, back at their Houston home.
Gerrod told Stacy that Chesnee was banging her plastic club on the TV set in celebration, after mama rolled in the winning putt. Lewis said she couldn’t wait to get home and show her daughter the trophy.
“It's amazing,” Lewis said. “The only disappointing thing is that she's not here to take a picture with this. I have been trying to get a trophy from the day she was born. That's been my goal.”
Now Lewis has another special memory of Scotland to cherish. She won the AIG Women’s Open, her second major championship title, at the Old Course at St. Andrews back in 2013.
The victory was Lewis’ 13th LPGA title, her first since winning the Cambia Portland Classic nearly three years ago. She defeated Azahara Munoz, Cheyenne Knight and Emily Pedersen in a four-way playoff, ending four days of testing challenges. The four of them ended up at just 5 under par through 72 holes.
The former world No. 1 is headed to Royal Troon next week to try to claim yet another title in golf’s homeland. She’s looking to join Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster and Catriona Matthew on a short list of players won have won majors after giving birth.
Lewis said juggling motherhood and world-class golf hasn’t been easy.
“That first year was so hard,” Lewis said. “I look back at when she was six, eight months old, I don't know how I did it. I was so tired. You're not sleeping. If we had our WHOOP bands then, I'm sure my recoveries would have been pretty close to zero.
“It's been a process. It's been a process of learning how to help her, and how to take care of her, and how to take care of myself, and spend time with my husband and all that kind of stuff, too.”
Joe Hallett, Lewis’ long-time swing coach, can testify to that.
Chesnee usually travels with Lewis but not overseas.
“I think this win means Stacy is easily up for mother of the year,” Hallett said. “She’s learned how to multi-task at levels none of us will ever understand, and she hasn’t lost her competitive edge. She’s actually learned to refine it.”
Being a mom, Lewis said, helped her deal with the challenges of tough conditions in Sunday’s final round at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick.
“I think having a kid has brought me some more patience. I really do,” Lewis said. “When she starts crying, if I get worked up, it's going to make it worse. So, if anything, Chesnee has taught me a lot of patience.
“On this golf course, you're going to hit good shots, and they are just not going to end up where you want them to. That's links golf.”
Lewis’ patience was tested with slow play and then a hot-air balloon issue at the 18th hole.
One of the tour’s quicker players, Lewis was grouped with Jennifer Song and Azahara Munoz for the entire weekend. With Song and Munoz playing slowly most of the way, the entire group was finally put on the clock on the back nine Sunday, with the trio battling for the lead.
Early in the round, Lewis told her caddie, Travis Wilson, that she wasn’t going to complain about the pace of play.
“So, I didn’t,” Lewis said.
Chesnee helped her with that, too.
“I was singing songs in my head, just getting away from everything,” Lewis said.
Mostly, there was one particular song . . .
“My daughter, she loves Taylor Swift,” Lewis said. “'Shake it off.' So, that’s like the one she dances to all the time. We just repeat it over and over again. That was actually the song stuck in my head today.”
But I keep cruising, can't stop, won't stop moving.
It's like I got this music in my mind, sayin' it's gonna be alright . . .
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
I shake it off, I shake it off.
Lewis took control early on, setting the pace as the sole leader through 10 holes, but her patience was tested when she made a double bogey at the 11th, after officials put the group on the clock.
When asked about the LPGA’s slow-play policy, Lewis conceded she would like to see stricter rules adopted.
“I think it needs to be aggressive,” Lewis said. “I think it needs to change because we're going in the wrong direction.”
At the 18th tee, there was yet another challenge, with a short stoppage as workers tried to fix a sagging air balloon left of the fairway. The players waited for some incessant hammering to stop.
“I stayed very positive, for me, throughout the day,” Lewis said. “Just proud of the way I hung in there.”
The rewards for winning go beyond the $190,000 first-place check and trophy, as Lewis is now extempt into the 2021 U.S. Women's Open at Olympic Club.
That said, she still isn't qualified for this December's U.S. Women's Open at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, her hometown. She has a chance now to make it off an LPGA money list exemption (top 10) on Nov. 11, if not through special qualifying in upcoming LPGA events.
“It’s been kind of in the back of my mind,” Lewis said. “I knew good golf would take care of itself, but to play a U.S. Open in Houston, where my family is, where my friends are, on a track that I wouldn't say I've played a ton, but I've played it enough, that I know my way around, it's a really big deal.”