Lew’ and crew return ‘home’ for Farr tourneyWritten by Ryan Fowler | | email@example.com
I want to begin by asking all of you to take a deep breath.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis has been trying to catch her breath for months now.
The rookie on tour is enduring the mental rigors of playing professional golf for a living.
“I’ve played more golf than I ever have before,” Lewis told Toledo Free Press. “It’s been a struggle getting use to playing week to week and getting use to the travel.”
Through her first 10 events as a pro, Lewis missed the cut four times. The mental strain continues to outweigh the natural ability of the 2007 NCAA National Champion.
“My play hasn’t been anywhere close to where I should be,” Lewis said. “I was kind of carrying what I was doing from week to week into the next tournament.”
Then a few weeks ago, Lewis was back where she feels she belongs. Lewis found her name atop the leader board followed by red numbers at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship.
The former University of Arkansas Razorback finished tied for ninth place at the end of the final round. She increased her career earnings to more than $85,000 after taking home a check worth more than $39,000.
“Growing up I never thought I’d be able to make a living playing golf,” Lewis said.
She isn’t lying.
Born in Toledo, Lewis spent her first two years in the Glass City before her family moved to South Carolina. Whereas many fans of the sport can picture Tiger Woods swinging a golf club at the tender of age of 3, Lewis didn’t start golfing until she was 8 years old. Her first tournament came four years later.
“Golf really wasn’t big in my life when I was younger,” she said. “It was just kind of something I liked to do.”
Adding degrees of difficulty to an already physically challenging sport, Lewis was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and had a metal rod inserted into her back.
But she didn’t use it as an excuse and continued to excel on the golf course throughout her teenage years.
Her hobby turned into college tuition. She earned a golf scholarship and was the No. 1 golfer for the University of Arkansas, earning All-American honors all four years.
Now, she returns to Toledo for the first time as a LPGA tour professional. In the past, sponsor exemptions have allowed Lewis to partake in the area’s crown jewel sporting event of the summer.
If you’ve been out to Highland Meadows over the past few years, following Stacy from hole to hole is the “Lew Crew.” The group wears matching T-shirts and is made up of family members who still live in the Toledo area. Lewis says their emotional support gives her an edge.
“It’s almost like a hometown crowd for me,” said Lewis, who lives in Texas. “I think it’s a special place for me.”
Let’s just hope the hometown support doesn’t take her breath away.
Ryan Fowler is the weekend sports anchor at NBC 24 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.