With a top-10 in 11 of 13 LPGA events this season, it is safe to say Stacy Lewis will contend at the 69th U.S. Open. Lewis has risen to number one in the Rolex World Rankings, and will be looking to improve on her career best T3 finish at the 2008 Open.
In the pre-tournament press conference, Lewis spoke about her successful year, which includes two wins this season. “I think the more you’re in contention, the more comfortable you get there. I’m starting to learn how to win different ways, and learn how to just get the ball in the hole better.”
Getting the ball in the hole is extremely difficult at Pinehurst No. 2 because of the firm conditions and the turtle back greens. However, Lewis believes she has an edge because it suits her game. She said “I love the golf course, I love the way you have to think your way around. You really have to — it’s position golf, it’s where do I need to be for every hole location and that suits my game. That’s the way I play every week. So I think I have that as an advantage.”
A U.S. Open tests your ability to stay patient, and play within yourself. It is also important to not overreact to a bad bounce, or a bad break such as landing in a divot.
With the men playing Pinehurst No. 2 last week, the condition of the course is a concern, but Lewis said it is better than she thought it was going to be. “The worst parts, there’s some divots, there’s a lot of divots on 1. 1 and 10 in the lay up spot.”
“But then other than that, we’re not hitting where the guys hit from in the fairways. So all that is okay. The worst part is just those collection areas around the greens, which we all knew it was going to be, so you just kind of have to figure out how to hit those shots.”
Despite the possibility of some difficult lies, Lewis is happy about the attention women’s golf is getting, “I think any time Rickie and Phil and those guys are talking about women’s golf, I think it’s a great thing. That’s really what we accomplished last week. For them to say they’re going to watch us play, I mean that’s huge. So it was cool.”
Lewis added, “When I first got here yesterday I saw Pat Bradley, and she just had the biggest grin on her face. And she’s like, is this not the coolest thing ever? I mean she’s like during my generation this would have never happened.”
“I think that’s what a lot of the young girls don’t realize is what an opportunity this is and how, what a great thing this is. I hope that seeing these other players around, I hope they learn that, and they know that this is a great thing for women’s golf. While the course may not be perfect out there, I think there’s a lot more good things coming out of this week.”
It’s been a ground-breaking couple weeks at Pinehurst No. 2, and it should only get better as Lewis and the best players in the game hit the links tomorrow morning.