Once again this week, Stacy Lewis is carrying the banner as the hottest golfer on the LPGA and the top American. Additionally, she will be hometown favorite for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G.
Lewis is riding a huge wave of success with two wins and five top-10 finishes among her last five starts. That has moved her to first in the Rolex LPGA Player of the Year standings, ahead of Yani Tseng, the world’s top-ranked player. Lewis is also second behind Tseng in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
“I'm pretty excited; it's going to be a busy week, but I love getting back home and playing in front of my family and friends, who will all be there,” Lewis said. “It's such a fun week for me. I was talking to (caddie) Travis (Wilson), every year we go back, it gets better and better and it's crazier and crazier, so it's no telling what it's going to be like.”
Lewis graduated from the University of Arkansas, which is located in Fayetteville, about 30 minutes south of Rogers and Pinnacle Country Club. The native Texan made her debut at Pinnacle Country Club in 2007 when she was a senior on the Lady Razorbacks’ golf team. She shot a first-round 65 to take the lead, then massive rains came and the tournament became an 18-hole event, with Lewis declared the unofficial winner. In four starts at Pinnacle, Lewis has recorded nine of 13 rounds in the 60s and had a best “official” finish of a tie for eighth last season when she opened with a 66.
Another local connection for Lewis was announced a few weeks ago when her sponsor, KPMG, was named as the title sponsor for the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior Open, an American Junior Golf Association event for boys and girls scheduled for July 2-5 in Bella Vista, Ark., near the northern Arkansas border with Missouri.
Then this week, Lewis gave $100,000 to the University of Arkansas women’s golf program, with a focus on expanding the team’s training facility. With her gift, Lewis became the first female member of the Razorback Foundation’s Century Circle.Surely, Lewis will also be eyeing another first-time occurrence this week. No American has won the Walmart NW Arkansas tournament since the first event in 2007 was washed out. South Koreans Seon Hwa Lee and Jiyai Shin won in 2008 and 2009 and Taiwan’s Tseng has captured the last two.