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Lewis takes 6 shot lead into final round
June 02, 2012

Rolex Rankings No. 7 Stacy Lewis will carry a six-shot lead into Sunday’s final round at the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club. Lewis shot her second consecutive round of 65, tying the tournament two-day record. Lewis had eight birdies in her round on Saturday with the only blip coming on a double-bogey on the par-4 6th hole. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist shot a 4-under-par 67 on Saturday and sits in sole possession of second place at 6-under-par while four others, including 2012 Sybase Match Play Champion Azahara Munoz, are seven shots back at 5-under-par.

Stacy Lewis took a commanding lead on Saturday after carding a 6-under-par 65 and put herself a good distance ahead of the rest of the field entering the final round. It will be the second time this season the American will lead the field at the start of Sunday’s round and it’s a place Lewis is happy to be in. The last time she was in the position, the No. 7 ranked player in the world recorded her second-career LPGA Tour victory at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in April. Lewis hopes to carry the lessons she learned during her second win in Alabama into tomorrow’s round.

“I took so much from Mobile,” said Lewis. “I had a couple-shot lead, but then I think at the turn [on Sunday] I had a five-shot lead. I made the mistake of playing safe and not really staying into my game and what I was doing and worrying about what other people were doing, watching leaderboards.”

Lewis learned her lesson and made sure to keep her eyes off the leaderboards on Saturday. She focused on just carding low numbers, hole by hole and to create as big of a lead as possible.

“So today out there I made the turn I think I had a two-shot lead and kind of told myself ‘let's see how big we can get this,’” said Lewis. “So I just tried to stay in what I'm doing and can't worry what anybody else is doing and keep the pedal down.”

When planning out her goals for the 2012 season, Stacy Lewis was realistic in where she set her sights. She knew that taking over the No. 1 position in the Rolex Rankings from Yani Tseng was nearly impossible so she focused instead on another top spot – that of top American in the rankings.

“That was kind of my No. 1 goal coming into the year was to lead the Solheim Cup point list and be the No. 1 American, just because Yani's lead,” Lewis said. “Yani's lead in the rankings, she's so far ahead of everybody, you know, that's kind of out there. So that was my main goal coming into the year. And I just -- every time I'm practicing and working out or whatever it is, that's what I'm working hard for and that's No. 1 for me.”

Lewis is currently No. 7 in the Rolex Rankings, sitting two spots behind No. 5 Cristie Kerr who has long held the spot as top American. The two are separated by .26 points in the rankings. Taking over the top spot would mean an increase in attention for Lewis, but that’s something that the once-shy player is now welcoming.

“I think I've gotten a lot better doing interviews and being that face,” said Lewis. “Obviously it goes along with it, so you kind of have to deal with it. I mean I want that. I want the pressure. I want people to talk about me being the No. 1 American. I want that there. So I don't know. I'm okay with it. “

Stacy Lewis’ strong play the first two days at the ShopRite LPGA Classic has certainly not gone unnoticed. The No. 1 player in the world admitted how impressed she has been with Lewis’ play this season. Not bad coming from the player with top-10 finishes in all eight events played in 2012. Yani Tseng said Lewis is handling the course like no other this week.

“She must be playing a different golf course,” said Tseng. “A six-shot lead, that's a lot. She even make double today…She's a very, very good player. She can make putts, and she hits the ball very solid. I think she's very aggressive, too. And it's always fun to play with her.”

Tseng took off the week Lewis won in Mobile but said she was still watching.

“I didn't play Mobile, but I was watching it on TV,” said Tseng. “I was very happy for her, and hopefully tomorrow I still have a little chance, but hopefully tomorrow I can still be competitive. But I'm very impressed with how much she's done.”

When you’re the No. 1 player in the world for 68-consecutive weeks, it’s not easy to continue coming up with new goals. But despite recording 12 victories last season and three already in 2012, Tseng is keeping her eye this season on the number 10.

“Last year even I had 12 wins, but my scores were still very up and down,” said Tseng. “I had a lot of finishes 30, 40, 50, so this year our team and I set a goal: let's try to make the top-10 every week.”

That’s not to undermine the highest goal of getting a win week in and week out, but Tseng knows setting out for a victory each week may not be attainable even if she feels she’s always in position to make a run.

“I expect to win every week, but I just kind of give my best, give my 100 percent effort every week,” said Tseng. “If I don't win, then hopefully just finish top-10. So that's kind of our goal to make sure everything, my skill, my mental, my physical, everything ready for the tournament.”

A total of 85 players made the cut, which fell at 4-over-par 146

I.K. Kim was announced as a Special Olympics Ambassador during a press conference on Saturday afternoon and the day turned out to be a truly memorable one for the three-time LPGA winner.

Kim was joined in her press conference by Special Olympics Chief of Strategic Properties Peter Wheeler and Special Olympics Athlete and Global Messenger David Egan. A video featuring welcome messages from fellow Special Olympic Ambassadors, including South Korean Olympic Gold-winning figure skater Yuna Kim along with Bart Connor and Nadia Comaneci, was played during Kim’s press conference. Egan presented Kim with a certificate welcoming her as an Ambassador and she was nearly brought to tears by a moving speech from the 31-year-old athlete, who has competed in numerous Special Olympic sports including swimming, soccer, basketball, ice skating and softball.

To conclude the press conference, Kim presented Special Olympics with a donation of more than $100,000, which was half of her winnings from the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Kim vowed after the win to donate her entire first-place check of $225,000 to charity, with half going to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation and the other half to a U.S.-based charity to be named later. The three-time LPGA winner carefully selected Special Olympics as the second recipient of her donation because she wanted to support a cause or organization that’s truly making an impact and she has seen the powerful work of Special Olympics.

Kim headed out to the driving range where she took part in a Junior Golf Show with more than 150 Korean kids in attendance and then she conducted a putting clinic for local Special Olympic athletes from New Jersey.

“I think for me golf is a very individual game, and a lot of times I just think about how I'm going to improve myself, and I think ti is just sharing with others, and if I can help other people, I think that would be great,” Kim said. “Hopefully my work will help other younger people to educate and inspire to make a difference in the community through Special Olympics, and I just want to say thank you again [to Special Olympics] for giving me this great opportunity.

After they finished their second round play on Saturday at the 2012 ShopRite Classic, Azahara Munoz and Belen Mozo knew their work for the day was not over just yet. The Spanish duo made their production and directorial debuts during the tournament’s live broadcast on Golf Channel. Munoz sat in the producer’s chair while Mozo directed for the half-hour segment. Both pros agreed it was much more difficult than they imagined.

“You totally underestimate what they do,” said Mozo. “You don’t even know what goes into it.”

Munoz was taken aback on the number of camera angle options the crew has to deal with and decisions they have to make within seconds.

“Of course you see all the cameras on the course but I never knew there were so many different angles and different shots,” said Munoz.

The two had a bit of a shocker when they sat down into the seats and put on the headsets during a commercial break and had a two-minute tutorial on how to run a live professional golf telecast. Anyone can imagine the nerves that might develop before they gave the countdown to go on air.

“I was a little nervous but I realized that if we messed up, it’s not what you do; it’s not your job,” said Munoz.

Mozo agreed that she didn’t have many expectations because the task at hand was so new.

“I just didn’t want to embarrass myself because I didn’t really know what to do,” said Mozo. “I wasn’t nervous just more anxious.”

They got their feet under themselves about half way through the segment and were visibly more comfortable as the telecast went on.

Golf Channel producer Beth Hutter told Mozo she didn’t need to say ‘please or thank you’ after she called her directions.

Laughs were aplenty throughout the entire time the pros were in charge and both agreed they would love to do it again in the future.

The biggest move to the day belonged to second-year LPGA member Jennifer Johnson, who shot an 8-under 63 to vault from a T114 into a T17 at 2-under-par. Wendy Ward and Song-Hee Kim withdrew after the first round. Haru Nomura was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard and Meredith Duncan was disqualified for not signing her scorecard. Defending champ Brittany Lincicome shot a 1-under-par and sits at T25 at even par.


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