- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Stacy Lewis is trying to end a long victory drought entering a busy summer capped by her wedding in August.

“I’ve waited for this for a long time and I’ve wanted this for a long time, and just because of some golf tournaments I’m not going to put my life on hold,” Lewis said Thursday, a day before the start of play in the ShopRite LPGA Classic. “I’ve done that enough, and it’s time to do something for myself that I’ve wanted, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Down to sixth in the world, the 31-year-old Lewis is winless in 49 starts since taking the North Texas LPGA Shootout in June 2014 for her 11th LPGA Tour victory. She tied for second three weeks ago in Alabama, her 10th runner-up finish during the drought and her 23rd overall.

Lewis won in 2012 and 2014 on Seaview’s Donald Ross-designed Bay Course, running away to a 10-stroke victory two years ago.

“I love this golf course and I love coming back,” Lewis said. “Having success here, that’s obviously why I’m back. Just looking for a place where I know I play well. I don’t know what it is about this golf course, but I just seem to play well on it, and that’s why I’m back.”

She’s trying to join Annika Sorenstam and Betsy King as the only three-time winners in the event.

“That would be pretty cool,” Lewis said. “I mean, I think the only other people to win it two times are Hall of Famers, so it’s a pretty good list to be on. I’d love to win this event again. I really love this event, and I think it’s done so much for this town and this area, and to come back here and support it, it means a lot to me.”

Lewis is preparing for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the second major championship of the year next week at tree-lined Sahalee near Seattle.

“I’ve got my coach here this week, Joe (Hallett), and we’re definitely kind of gearing a lot of what we’re working on toward next week, and it’s going to help on this golf course, too,” Lewis said. “You have to drive it straight here. You have to be able to control it in the wind. Next week, the premium is going to be on driving it straight. We’re kind of working on some things this week that are going to lead into next week, and I like playing a week before a major.”

Lewis will play the first two rounds alongside defending champion Anna Nordqvist and Lizette Salas. Nordqvist has four top-five finish in the event.

“It’s always great to be back,” Nordqvist said. “Obviously, I have a lot of great memories from last year. I’ve been playing pretty good here over the years, so it’s just one of those places where I really enjoy coming back. I like the New Jersey crowd.”

The Swede beat Christel Boeljon by a stroke last year.

“You have to give yourself a lot of chances, and you’re not going to make a ton of putts,” Nordqvist said. “Playing smart, staying out of the rough, which is pretty thick this year. It’s a little softer than in the past, but I think it’s actually going to make it play a little tougher. You’re not going to get as much roll in the fairways.”

Top-ranked Lydia Ko and streaking Ariya Jutanugarn are skipping the tournament to get ready for the KPMG Women’s PGA. Jutanugarn has won three straight events, the last a five-stroke victory Sunday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Fourth-ranked Brooke Henderson is coming off a third-place tie in Michigan, her ninth top-10 finish of the year. The 18-year-old Canadian won last year in Portland, Oregon, for her first tour title.

“I’ve been playing pretty well,” Henderson said. “I’m getting some good results, like those nine top-10s. The four other weeks were not too bad, either, I think all within the top 30. So, I’ve been playing really well. Just trying to improve on some of the little things.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide