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The calm before the storm


Lewis expecting tough conditions

Stacy Lewis at Royal Troon

Stacy Lewis knows a benign Wednesday at Royal Troon represents the “calm before the storm” as the AIG Women’s Open competitors brace for difficult weather conditions.

There was barely a breath of wind on the morning before the championship, but strong gusts are forecast to arrive on Thursday and continue into Friday.

Lewis’ experience of links golf should stand her in good stead. The American triumphed at St Andrews in the 2013 AIG Women’s Open and provided a timely reminder of her skill on coastal courses when winning last week’s Ladies Scottish Open.

Speaking to ahead of her final practice round, Lewis said: “This is the calm before the storm, that's really what it is. It's very strange, it's nice to see the golf course and be able to practice on it like this, but it's gonna be so different this time tomorrow (Thursday).

“You're going to be playing through the elements, on Friday it looks like we're going to have a tonne of rain along with the wind, so it's gonna be true links golf.

"The more experience you get on this type of golf course, the better you'll play.”

The impending winds are not the only reason why Lewis, who is due to tee off at 7:47am BST on Thursday with Ariya Jutanugarn and Charley Hull, believes experienced players may prosper at Troon this week.

A range of protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, meaning competitors are strictly limited in who they can interact with.

“With all the COVID stuff, they’re not allowing coaches or managers or parents to be here,” explained Lewis.

“So I do think your older, more experienced players might have an advantage this week.”

While Lewis would love to secure a second AIG Women’s Open title, she acknowledges nothing could beat her success at St Andrews seven years ago.

“I got to make some history at St Andrews, so I'd like to make some more history here,” she added.

“I can still remember 17 and 18 in my head that last round, the shots I hit, the putt I made on 18, it was just literally the best. There's no way to top it. If I win here, it will be great, but there's no way to top that one.

“I love links golf; I love the history of this game, so to be at a place like Troon, with all the history here, it's really fun.

"There's just a comfort level (in Scotland). I don't know what it is. I don't know if (it's because) I grew up in Texas playing in the winds, so I'm used to it, but I've learned to love the bounces and love the style of golf, so it's always exciting for me to come and play here.”