Stacy Lewis would like to take a decision out of U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster’s hands.
Lewis would like to make the American team on points, rather than rely on a captain’s pick.
With a 6-under-par 65 Thursday at the Marathon Classic, Lewis took a step in that direction. She equaled her best score since rejoining the tour as a mom this year.
Lewis is one shot off the lead in suburban Toledo, where she’s embraced as a hometown favorite. She was born in Toledo, and her parents grew up there.
“It was awesome,” Lewis said of her round of seven birdies and a bogey. “I’ve been working on the ball striking a lot. So, just really nice to see some results.”
Alena Sharp and Youngin Chun share the first-round lead after opening with 64s.
Caroline Masson, Azahara Munoz and Jenny Haglund are one back with Lewis.
Lexi Thompson, Jeongeun Lee6, Carlota Ciganda and Clariss Guce are two back.
Brooke Henderson is among nine players three back.
Lewis, 34, is looking to make the U.S. Solheim Cup team for the fifth time. She’s 14th on the American Solheim Cup points list this week, with six events left to qualify for the team. The top eight in points will make the team when qualifying ends at the conclusion of the CP Women’s Open next month.
“It's very much on my mind,” Lewis said. “Juli is trying to get me to not think about it and not worry about it. It's hard to not pay attention to the points.
“I've never been on this side of it, where you're having to watch the point list. I've always been up there pretty high and never had to worry. So, it’s a little different scenario.”
Lewis left the tour after last year’s Marathon Classic to prepare for the birth of her first child, Chesnee, who was born in October. In Lewis’ return in January, she opened with a 66 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. She went on to tie for sixth, but she quickly learned the transition to a playing mom wouldn’t be so easy. It’s one of just two top-10 finishes in her 12 starts this year.
Lewis, a 12-time LPGA winner, can earn 60 Solheim Cup points with a victory this week. She’s 64.5 points behind Brittany Altomare, who holds down the eighth spot on this week’s points list. Solheim Cup points are awarded to the top-20 finishers in a regular tour event.
“I feel like this week, I've got a chance to get some points,” Lewis said. “And next week, too, playing with Gerina [Piller at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational team event]. I feel like we pair pretty well together. These next four weeks are pretty important for that.”