A Golfing Inspiration: Stacy Lewis

Author: Matt Cooper

I spotted this article on a golf website and as I knew about Stacy Lewis having Scoliosis I decide to re-print some of the article here to share with our members.

Well, it took longer than expected but we all knew it had to happen sooner or later.

The weight of expectancy was huge but one sensed it was coming.

Welcomed by sponsors, officials and even fellow players.

Much anticipated and greeted with scenes of drama and relief.

Yes - finally an American has won again on the LPGA.

One player excited about the tour's first visit to Houston in 20 years is Stacy Lewis, a Houston resident who has played at the nearby Woodlands all of her career.

Lewis' golfing journey has been an extraordinary one - she started playing the game aged eight, quickly gained a reputation as a great talent, was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine), wore a brace for six years, then had surgery, became the number ranked amateur in the US and then finished third in the 2008 US Open (her professional debut).

Oh, she also "won" the 2007 NW Arkansas Championship when still an amateur (although only the first round was completed so it remains an "unofficial" result).

She's packed all of that in and yet 2009 is still her rookie year on tour!

Thrilled to be playing in front of her home town fans, Lewis makes an interesting prospect this week because the host course - The Houstonian G&CC - is designed by Rees Jones.

He also created the Champions course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach which has co-hosted the final stage of Q-school in recent years.

Last year the players completed three rounds on it and Lewis came out on top, winning the event by three shots.

She recently finished seventh in Japan and with her home town connections I like her chances of making the places at 80/1.

I was initially attracted to the claims of South Korea's In-Kyung Kim by her short- and long-term form but, like Lewis, she has an intriguing link with Q-school.

Her form first though: having missed the cut in Alabama she has pulled her socks up to rack up the following form figures: 15-9-8.

Both her last two starts could have been much better but for her inability to break par in the final round.

But she has completed two wins in the last two seasons (at Panther Creek and Blackhawk) so she is not afraid to cross the winning line.

As I hinted above, she also has form on the Champions course - she was joint winner of Q-school in 2006, albeit they only played that layout twice that year.

There is plenty in her favour so I'll take the 40/1.

Final pick is Paula Creamer who is one of the Americans struggling to win in 2009, but who might find herself motivated by Michelle Wie's debut triumph - after all she didn't finish too far away in second place.

A recent fourth place finish at Torrey Pines is of interest (it is one of the US Open courses Rees Jones has re-designed), as is the fact she trounced the Q-school field in 2004 by five shots (but her win involved playing the Champions course even fewer times than Lewis and Kim - just the once in her case).

What also interests me with Creamer is the fact that her coach David Whelan is a short-game expert and the two often talk about the needs and requirements of each venue in a manner reminiscent of Phil Mickelson and Dave Pelz.

Rees Jones courses, with their run-off areas and large, undulating greens call for a careful strategy and the Creamer/Whelan partnership might find one.

Add in her habit of making the top five in 33% of her career starts (and in 9 of 22 starts this year) and 16/1 is not a bad price.

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