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For Lewis, there’s no place like home

07/16/2014, 12:42am EDT
By DONALD EMMONS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Native Toledoan wants to win ‘where it all started’

No place like home for Lewis

Stacy Lewis would love to win for her hometown fans. Associated Press

Stacy Lewis calls Toledo home.

The LPGA’s No. 1 ranked golfer also calls Arkansas home, as well as four, maybe even five other stops on the LPGA Tour that she has at some point in her life spent time in while growing up.

However, the Glass City, admittedly, offers something more than the other “hometowns” for Lewis.

“Growing up as a kid and coming to this tournament and then playing here on sponsored invites and college, it’s just kind of a special place that’s kind of where it all started,” said Lewis, who enters as a favorite this week at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Toledo-born Lewis is looking for her first victory on Sylvania’s Par 71 course with a yardage of 6,512.

If there’s such a thing as the right time to make something happen, perhaps this week is her time to win the Marathon Classic.

She’s swinging the clubs as well as anyone on the tour. She has finished in the Top 10 in 13 of 16 events she’s played in this year. She’s won three times this season and has placed second four times. She leads the 2014 money list having won $1.9 million, with Michelle Wie second at $1.6 million and Inbee Park third with $940,097. Lewis’ career earnings is more than $7.9 million.

Coming off the British Open where she tied for 12th, Lewis figures to make a bounce-back from the disappointing finish. The two times she didn’t place in the Top 10, she came right back to earn a Top 10 spot.

“This year has been a lot of fun; it’s just been very consistent,” she said. “I think I’m learning how to manage my game better and how to react under pressure.

“The wins I have had, I’ve been doing them kind of in hometowns. It’s been cool to celebrate with family and friends, and I’d like to check Toledo off that list too."

Lewis won the North Texas LPGA Shootout, ShopRite LPGA Classic, and the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship earlier this season. Those are tournament victories in Texas, New Jersey, and Arkansas, three areas of the country in which she’s lived a significant amount of time. Her Arkansas win came before plenty of Razorback fans who supported her during her years at the University of Arkansas.

Her parents were born in Toledo, so the Marathon gives her a chance to play before lots of family and friends who still call northwest Ohio home once the tournament tees off on Thursday.

“There’s always pressure there,” she said, about playing in front of people she knows. “I’m fortunate that I kind of get to try it at different places throughout the year, but it’s hard.

”You can feel the crowd just wants you to make a putt. They want you to make birdie. They want you to win so bad that you kind of put a lot of pressure on yourself. ... I’ve learned how to manage it a little better.”

Lewis said that she’s gaining confidence and familiarity with the challenging Highland Meadows course each year she returns.

“It’s just one of those golf courses you just have to play a lot to figure it out,” she said. “I think I’m getting closer every year."

Frankly, winning the Marathon Classic might end up coming down to Lewis feeling comfortable at home.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.

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