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Lewis Hopes Second Straight Win in Singapore Jump-Starts Season
Stacy Lewis got her 2013 campaign rolling in the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore. The Arkansas native carded rounds of 67, 66, 69 and 71 to finish at 15-under, one stroke ahead of South Korea's Na Yeon Choi.
The victory on the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club propelled Lewis, now 29, to two more titles last year - in the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup two weeks later and Women's British Open in August, leading her to the second-most wins - after Inbee Park's six - and a No. 2 ranking behind the South Korean at year's end.
Lewis is back in Singapore to defend her HSBC title. She, Park and most of the world's best female players will be vying for the $210,000 top prize in the 72-hole tournament, which gets underway Thursday.
Lewis, now No. 3 behind Park and Suzann Pettersen, Here's met with reporters on the eve of the event and discussed the state of her game.
MODERATOR: How different are these weeks coming back as defending champion, extra requests and things like that, you had a very, very warm welcome. Talk about coming back and defending.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it's just the better I play, we go to every tournament and my name seems to be on the pictures, on everything. So it's kind of getting used to that part but it's definitely nice to be back where I won and on a golf course that I'm comfortable with, and you know, we had many fun with the photo call there. Actually got up in the scoreboard and kind of poked my head out. So we had a good time with it, and you know, it's just cool to be back and everybody is still kind of congratulating me from last year.
MODERATOR: Great finish last week, extended the nice top 10 streak to 13, so I had to look up, you have to be closing in on some industry. Karrie has 16, that's the record, so getting close.
STACY LEWIS: Why am I not surprised.
MODERATOR: Talk about this streak, I know it's always a topic week in and week out for you, but you're in the top 20 going into Sunday, just talk about finishing strong.
STACY LEWIS: You know, it's just the way I am. I'm 20th but I still go out there and give it my all and give it 100 percent. I just can't go out there and not do that. That's just not who I am. So I guess that's part of it, and you know, I just was frustrated with my game last week. I definitely didn't really play very well and Sunday even left some out there. But I hit the ball a lot better on Sunday and that was encouraging coming into this week. But definitely kind of frustrated but shows I can still be frustrated and finish top 5 is pretty good.
MODERATOR: You shared some late night bus rides, grinding on the putting green at night, what were you working on between rounds?
STACY LEWIS: I was just trying to get comfortable. The greens last week were so fast and had a lot of slope on them so if you didn't get putts started online, you didn't get much done. It was getting comfortable over the putts and kind of the same thing coming into this week. The greens are fast and slopey. This wind, it makes them even harder. I really just need to get more comfortable over the ball, which I feel like every day it's getting closer but you never really know until you get out there.
Q. Obviously love this course; any differences since last year?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it's pretty similar. The greens aren't quite as fast as they were last year, which I think is good, just given the wind we are supposed to have all week and that we have had already. But this wind is plain hard. It's a thinker's golf course. You just kind of have to hit it to spots and when the wind is blowing, it makes it twice as hard to hit those spots. It's playing really tough and I hope we're careful with the greens, they don't get too out of control but at the same time, if you play smart around this course, you can make some birdies.
MODERATOR: Going back to the top 10 streak and leaving legacies and writing your name history books, you have Player of the Year and you've been making your own way on the LPGA; do you think about those things, the reputation you'll leave once you finish - you're obviously still early on in your career but to get your name in record books and have your name next to Karrie and Players of the Year; do you reflect on that?
STACY LEWIS: I don't really think about it when I'm playing, but do you kind of catch yourself when you're just kind of thinking about years past and what you've done. I mean, just thinking about the number of top 10s I've had over the last two and a half years or so, it's just crazy to even think of to me. To be close to have a chance to get close to Karrie, one of her records, is pretty amazing. So yeah, I have so much respect for her just that I'm even somewhere close is a good thing for me. Yeah, I definitely - when I'm done playing, I want people to remember me. I want people to remember me for being a fighter and being somebody that never gave up and I think that's what I usually think of.
Q. Do you feel pressure defending your title?
STACY LEWIS: I don't think it's too much pressure. I think I put more pressure on myself week in and week out, so I don't think there's much there. It's really nice - it's coming back and remembering good shots and being comfortable on a golf course, I think really helps a lot. So you know, a lot of the tee shots, the girls are kind of asking, what do you do here, what do you do here, and I don't want to give away too many secrets. I feel like my caddie and I carved out a really good game plan last year and so we'll keep that game plan moving forward.
Q. Do you have any advice for young golfers like our local qualifier Amanda Tan?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, for the young ones, I tell them to play a lot of tournaments and get a lot of tournament golf experience. There are so many kids that they can have good golf swings and have good putting strokes, but it's whether you can do it under pressure. You know, playing a lot of tournaments and also working on your short game.
Q. Any one you think can win this competition or we should be watching out for?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I think right now with the way the Tour is, you look at the three winners we've had this year, everybody is talking about me, myself and Suzann and Inbee, yet the three winners we've had are neither one of us. There's so many good players now, you've got so many good, young players like Lydia and Lexi, but then Karrie won a couple weeks ago, so on this type of golf course, I think you're going to see somebody with a little bit more experience and somebody that's a little bit smarter. But you know, other than that, there's so many good players now, it's hard to pick one.
Q. Do you look at these pictures and think, oh, I don't like my hair in that one, or wish I had done something - the things that you normally would when you look at a picture?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, yeah, I critique myself all the time. The ones that they have up in the hotel this week are actually more like paintings. We all look kind of strange to me. We all have a good laugh about it. Everybody likes to make fun of me about it and things like that, but at the same time, it's cool that, you know, you're on those posters and you're getting recognized, and that means you're doing something right.
Q. Have you ever felt inclined to sneak in and sort of turn the posters around if you don't like them?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I don't like seeing my picture anywhere, so I probably want to do it all the time. I don't know, I guess there's always going to be good and bad pictures.
Q. You just get used to it -
STACY LEWIS: It's part of the deal.
Q. And you just don't look if you don't like?
STACY LEWIS: Exactly. And if you don't like it, you tell somebody and they will never use it again.
Q. We were in this room last year with you at a press conference, and I can - well, from my perspective, you seem a lot more relaxed this year. Off the golf course, do you find yourself, would you say you're different this year from last year as a person or as a player?
STACY LEWIS: That seems to be a common question around this tournament. I think you've just - I've grown a lot in this side of the golf, of the media aspect, of doing things with fans, just being more outgoing. It's not necessarily my personality to be super outgoing like that, but I've learned that it's kind of part of the deal, and if I have fun with it, usually everybody else kind of laughs and has fun with it, too. I've just gotten a lot more comfortable being in this position I guess, and I think that's probably what's coming out.
Q. The other question is much simpler. We're starting the new year, just three tournaments; as a player with your golf swing, anything in particular you're going to be working on, some of your goals with your golf swing and tournament play?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, over the off season, I never really make any huge, big changes. It's always kind of little - little things along the way. We worked on just impact getting a little stronger and the club not flipping quite so much at the bottom. So really it's just little things, and just - I mean this week, what I'm working on this week is controlling the ball flight, with this wind, can you hit it high, low, cut and drawing, you've got to be able to hit all the shots. So that's kind of what I work on every week, really, is being able to hit more shots and just trying things. I think putting and short game can always get better, no matter how good you play, there's always a few more putts you can make. It's trying to get the putting more consistent and that's kind of what we're doing this year.
MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.