Former Razorback Stacy Lewis plans tour hiatus around birth of first child

By: Chip Souza
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Stacy Lewis, former Razorback and current professional golfer, speaks to the press Tuesday June 19, 2018 at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Stacy Lewis, former Razorback and current professional golfer, speaks to the press Tuesday June 19, 2018 at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.

ROGERS -- Stacy Lewis plans every shot on the golf course, carefully considering all the elements and possibilities before striking the ball.

She's trying to take that same approach into motherhood as she and husband Gerrod prepare for their first child, due Nov. 3. The couple planned the event so that Lewis would miss only about half of the 2018 LPGA Tour events, and she hopes to return to the course in January.

"It has worked out according to plan," Lewis said Tuesday at the LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship. "I'm going to play next week and then play two weeks later at the Marathon Classic, and that will be my last one. The tour moves over to Europe, and the travel just gets a little bit worse. I'm excited for the break."

Lewis will find out the gender Saturday at a gender-reveal gathering, which will include blue or pink fireworks. She did say, however, her instinct is telling her it's a girl.

Shauna Taylor, who coached Lewis at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and remains very close to her former four-time All-American, said if Lewis is correct and it is a girl, a scholarship offer will be immediate.

"There will always be a spot for a little Lewy on our team," Taylor laughed.

Lewis -- who won this event in 2014, tied for third in 2015 and tied for fourth last year -- said she is looking forward to playing Pinnacle Country Club. The length of the course is shorter, which plays more to her strength now.

"Obviously this golf course is not our longest, which I'm excited about because that will let me be competitive and stay in the mix," she said. "This is a homecoming for me. It's a week that I can really relax and enjoy because there's not a whole lot of work I have to do on the golf course. I just love being here."

Taylor said the key for Lewis after the baby arrives is balancing mom life with professional athlete life.

"Stacy and Gerrod are going to be amazing parents," Taylor said. "There will be an adjustment period for everyone. I know her wheels are already turning on how to balance everything with their new addition, and, if anyone likes a challenge, it is her."

Lewis said the pregnancy has not had much of an effect on her game other than losing some length off the tee.

"I am probably not hitting the driver as far, but the irons are definitely still going the same distance," she said. "There are quite a few holes on this golf course where you're not hitting driver anyway, so that's why I'm excited about this week.

"Right now, it's really just trying to manage energy more than anything. Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more. Other than that, I think it's been pretty good."

LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship

WHEN Friday through Sunday

WHERE Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers

FORMAT 54 Holes

YARDAGE 6,331

PAR 71

DEFENDING CHAMPION So Yeon Ryu 65-61-69—195 (-18) TV Golf Channel, Friday, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

TICKETS General admission is $10 per day or $25 for the week. Children ages 16 and under with ticketed adult gets in free. All active reserve and retired military and families are free.

The Northwest Arkansas Championship and Arkansas women's golf team have a relationship unlike any other in the country. Each year, the No. 1 golfer on the Arkansas team gets a sponsorship exemption into this event, and the program gets three exemptions into the Monday qualifier. Junior Dylan Kim grabbed a spot in the main tournament this year by shooting a six-under 65 on Monday in the qualifying round.

Kim and Lewis will be joined in the field by former Razorback Gaby Lopez and current Razorback Maria Fassi, who earned the sponsorship exemption.

"Most of the players that we recruit have the dream of playing on the LPGA Tour one day, and there is no better measuring stick then teeing it up with the best players in the world while you are still in college," Taylor said. "I don't know of any other college program that has this kind of opportunity with a professional event."

Lewis played in the first tournament in 2007 and said she used that as a way to measure her game against the top players in the world at the time.

"This tournament in general has been huge for the Arkansas women's golf team," she said. "It's been such a great opportunity for the girls. It's just really cool to see what Shauna and the other coaches are doing and to be able to watch these girls and hopefully help them get to this next level."

Lewis has targeted a January return to the LPGA Tour.

"A lot of it will be just seeing how it goes," she said. "I definitely want to play, but how soon I'm not exactly sure. I will be eligible for a tournament in January, and I'd like to play in that."

Sports on 06/21/2018

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