Lewis raises bar for 2015 LPGA season

OCALA, Fla. – Stacy Lewis listened to a list of her accomplishments in 2014: three wins, Rolex Player of the Year, winner of the Vare Trophy and money list title.

“What motivates me is the one you didn’t say,” she said, “which was six second-place finishes last year.

“It was good, but it could have been unbelievable.”

Let that be a glimpse into what makes Lewis such an incredible player. She’s never satisfied.

Lewis enters 2015 with an obvious goal: win another major.

Since she began working with instructor Joe Hallett, the two have written down three goals for each season and put them in an envelope (actually now they write the list on their iPhones). At the end of the season, they look at each other’s lists to see if they were on the same page and see what was accomplished.

“She has burned through my three goals for the last five years,” said Hallett.

Lewis challenged him to raise the bar even higher.

The offseason for Lewis was more “on” than usual as she was forced to find a new golf ball for 2015. The golf ball she has played since turning pro – Titleist 09X – was taken off the conforming list this month. She spent most of the offseason testing every golf ball on the market and decided last week to go with the Bridgestone B330 RX.

Lewis said the biggest difference she noticed was greater control with her wedges.

One of the most interesting things about Golden Ocala, site of the inaugural Coates Golf Championship this week, is that eight holes are replicas of holes from more famous courses. Lewis has played two of those tracks – Augusta National and the Old Course at St Andrews – and has especially fond memories on the Road Hole, where she hit the shot of her life on Sunday to win the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open.

“You could probably go drop 50 balls and not do it again,” Lewis said of the 5-iron. “And then to make the putt on 18 with the scene, all the people around, all my friends and family I had there, you know, it was just one of those things I don’t think I will ever top it again.”

The 13th at Golden Ocala is a replica of the 17th at the Old Course and the 14th is designed to look like No. 1 at St. Andrews.

“No. 17, if they move the tee box a little more to the right so you’re hitting over the wall from the tee, you’d have more of the actual angle at St. Andrews,” said Lewis. “Then you build a little hotel there too so you can hit over that.”

The green complex, however, isn’t nearly the same. Lewis said the Old Course green is actually a third of the size of the one at Golden Ocala.

“The Augusta replica holes actually, I think, are the closest,” said Lewis. No. 11 at Golden Ocala is a replica of Augusta’s 12th. The Golden Ocala version of Amen Corner also includes a look-alike of Augusta’s par-5 13th (No. 12 here).

Lewis hit 5-iron into Ocala’s version of Golden Bell (No. 12 at Augusta).

“Like to see the guys do that, right?” she said.

Good thing she loves a challenge.

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