FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Former University of Arkansas All-American Stacy Lewis returns to Northwest Arkansas this week to defend her title at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.
After what could only be called a storybook finish last year, Lewis is hoping the hometown crowd will help her get into the winner’s circle again this year.
Lewis fired a final round 65 and rallied for the one-stroke win after draining a seven-foot birdie putt on the final hole at Pinnacle Country Club. The putt ended a streak of three consecutive birdies lifting Lewis to a 201, one shot better than Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford for the win.
Although Lewis doesn’t have a Tour win this year, her season has been solid. She seven top-10 finishes including a pair of runner-up finishes and she currently ranks fourth in the LPGA’s Top Money List for the year. She is also fourth in the CME Race To the Globe standings heading into tournament play.
As a collegiate player at Arkansas, Lewis enjoyed challenging and well-documented journey. Her back surgery as a senior in high school might have scared off many coaches but the Razorback staff honored their commitment to Lewis knowing it would be at least a year before she could swing a club.
Lewis proved to be well-worth the wait. She went on to win a program record 12 collegiate events and was a four-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference and All-America selection. As a junior, Lewis won the NCAA title as an individual coming from behind and shooting a final our 66 at LPGA International for the victory.
Lewis was a two-time SEC Champion and played in several other amateur events including Copa de las Americans and the 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team. Equally as important for Lewis, she helped put Arkansas golf on the map with four consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and three team NCAA Championship appearances.
Although the Razorbacks were sad to see Lewis go, Arkansas and its fans know that she has never really left. A 2008 graduate with a degree in finance, Lewis has remained loyal to her alma mater even carrying a Razorback head cover on Tour.
Lewis also showed her support with a generous donation to the women’s golf program as she became the first female member of the Razorback’s Century Club for student-athletes who donate at least $100,000.
Lewis also gives of her time returning to campus to work with Arkansas’ players. In fact, she played nine holes during a practice round this morning with Gabriela Lopez, who earned a sponsor’s exemption to play this weekend.
Lewis will have her hands full with a talented field this weekend including two-time winner Yani Tseng (2010, 2011), along with recent Tour winners Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist but the home crowd will be her corner.
For more information on Arkansas women’s golf, follow @RazorbackWGolf on Twitter.