Chip Souza is the sports editor of the four daily newspapers that comprise Northwest Arkansas Newspapers. Chip has been a sports writer for most of the past 26 years, earning numerous awards in Texas and Arkansas. Chip was named the sports editor of The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas in 2004 and the sports section earned six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards, including Top 10 Daily, Top 10 Sunday and Top 10 Special Section in its circulation category.
Lewis not deterred by stop-and-go day
Stacy Lewis watches her drive on No. 12 on Friday June 26, 2015 during the first round of the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.
ROGERS -- Stacy Lewis took a few practice swings, then looked back toward the Pinnacle Country Club clubhouse.
Dark, heavy clouds and a cool breeze made for a nice respite from the sweltering humidity that had hung over the course just a while earlier, but it didn't make the waiting any more enjoyable Friday as the LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship was in its second lengthy weather delay of the first round.
Lewis twirled her golf club and chatted with her caddie, Travis Wilson, while waiting on tournament officials to signal that play could resume. It was the second time lightning and rain had sent golfers and fans scrambling.
When the horn blasted at 5:08 p.m., Lewis was finally able to open defense of her tournament title.
"We kind of knew it was coming today," Lewis said after her 15-hole round ended with a birdie on the par-3 No. 6 to go to 4 under. "I was surprised we got in as many holes as we did. You know it's coming. Fortunately I have a bunch of friends and family to hang out with, so it made the time go by pretty quick."
Lewis was scheduled to tee off at 12:59 p.m., but she didn't actually swing a club for the first time until 3 p.m. Then, just minutes after her tee shot landed in the fairway, weather horns sounded again at 3:03 p.m. Play did not resume again until 5:08 p.m., a gap of 2 hours, 5 minutes.
When she was finally given the OK to resume play, she promptly hit her second shot over the green.
"Yeah, I kind of talked myself out of hitting the shorter club," Lewis said. "So I was a little bit upset. I didn't get off to a great start, but I felt comfortable with what I was doing. I felt like I could hit some shots in there close. So that's really what I did those last few holes, hit the ball close, and I made a couple of really good par putts, too."
After a bogey on the par-3 No. 11, Lewis crushed a drive on No. 13 and was on the green in two but missed a 15-foot birdie putt.
Despite the weather delays, a nice gallery followed Lewis on Friday. She stopped to muss a little boy's hair on her walk to No. 14, and she stopped a second time to playfully poke a small girl in a stroller, eliciting a giggle from the toddler.
Lewis birdied No. 16 after a booming drive to get to even, then birdied No. 18 to go to 1 under after the back nine. On the front side, she birdied No. 2 to go to 2 under and then had back-to-back birdies on No. 5 and No. 6 to move to 4 under with three holes to left in her round when play resumes at 7:45 a.m. today.
Lewis, who is grouped with Sandra Gal and Mariajo Uribe, said the threesome wanted to finish No. 6. Gal had hit her tee shot when the horn suspending play for darkness sounded at 8:38 p.m. She said they wanted to get in the par-3 hole before starting today with the par-5 No. 7.
"We were on five and we all said we wanted to play No. 6. because it's easier to start with the driver, start on a par 5," Lewis said. "I'm glad that I birdied the last two as well."
Once the rain moved out, the weather couldn't have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a bright orange sunset and cooler temperatures.
Sports on 06/27/2015
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