Former Hog Lewis No. 1 in LPGA rankings


FAYETTEVILLE — Stacy Lewis became the top LPGA player in the world last year, ascending to No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings for the first time in her professional career.

Lewis had one regret about the experience: It only last four weeks.

The former Arkansas golfer is hoping for a longer stay as the top-ranked player after reclaiming the spot with her victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey last week. The victory helped her move in front of Inbee Park, who held the No. 1 spot for 59 weeks. Lewis believes she’s better prepared to hold onto it now.

“I think all that’s happened over the last year is going to help me,” said Lewis, who participated in a teleconference with the media Tuesday. “It happened so quickly last year. I won two tournaments back-to-back and kind of jumped up there to No. 1 and it was going into Kraft and going into a lot of big events and it was just crazy. I was running around doing a bunch of media and didn’t really get to sit back and enjoy it and say, ‘Wow, I really am No. 1 in the world.’

“So that’s kind of what I took out of that, is that I need to enjoy it more, I need to say no to a few things and make my life a little bit easier.”

Lewis climbed back on top after her second victory in 12 events this season.

It’s part of what has been her most successful year on tour. Lewis has logged 10 top-10 finishes in 12 events. She has finished in the top three six times.

Lewis believes the key to maintaining her success — and to remain in the No. 1 spot longer than one month — is to minimize the pressure that goes with the position.

“I think when everybody’s kind of chasing you, when I was chasing Inbee down, you kind of start putting more pressure on yourself and just those expectations,” Lewis said. “Everybody expects you to challenge when golf has its ebbs and flows. You’re going to play well some weeks, you’re not going to play well other weeks.”

Lewis will play her first tournament as the top player in the world during the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario this week. The tournament will then be followed by the U.S. Women’s Open in Pinehurst, N.C.

She’ll also have a chance to bring the No. 1 ranking back to Arkansas.

The Walmart NWA Championship will be played June 27-29 in Rogers.

“I don’t think any other player on tour has the following at an event like I do there,” Lewis said. “The players always make fun of me because they always know where I am throughout the golf course by the cheers and the Hog Calls and all that kind of stuff. But I love it. I love being able to come back and see family and friends, and having that support is, I mean, it’s really important. You don’t get to be No. 1 in the world by yourself, so it’s just really cool to have that support.”

Lewis hopes the support, and her own hard work to climb to the top of the LPGA, will be rewarded with a long stay in her second stint at No. 1.

Either way, Lewis said she embraces the challenge of being the LPGA’s best player.

“I’m not going to worry about the rankings,” Lewis said. “If I stay there for four weeks or 20 weeks or 50 weeks, whatever it is, any time you spend at No. 1 in the world it’s going to be great. So I’m just going to go out there and get right back to work this week and try and win a golf tournament.”