BELMONT, Mich. (AP) — Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie are recharged for the LPGA Tour’s return to Michigan.
“One week I just took completely off,” said Wie, the U.S. Women’s Open champion who last played July 20 in the Marathon Classic. “I was a bit tired I think mentally and it was good just to put the clubs in the closet for a whole week. And I went to my friend’s wedding and this past week it was back to the grind. I got some really good work in, good workouts, some good practices, so I feel ready this week.”
The Meijer LPGA Classic is the tour’s first in Michigan since the 2000 Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing. Play begins Thursday at Blythefield Country Club.
“The course is in perfect shape,” Wie said about the Grand Rapids-area layout. “It’s absolutely phenomenal how good this golf course is condition-wise and the layout is a lot of fun as well.”
The top-ranked Lewis had a week off after the International Crown in Maryland.
“The week off was very necessary,” Lewis said. “The last three events I played in, I’ve been running on fumes. I’ve had a pretty long couple of months here and I needed a week off, I needed some time.
“The game kind of got off track and I think it was just a little bit of being tired and just not having the energy to prepare the way I needed to. So, it’s been good to have been able to practice and kind of get things going in the right direction.”
The tournament begins a big three-week stretch in the schedule. The LPGA Championship — the fourth major of the year, is next week in Pittsford, New York, followed by the Canadian Women’s Open in London, Ontario.
Lydia Ko is coming off a victory in the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio. The 17-year-old Ko has two victories this year.
“I went to Universal Studios with some of the players that live in Orlando,” Ko said about her break from play. “We had some fun there. I’m not really good with rides, so to kind of experience that, that was really cool. I kind of feel like a tourist even though I live in Orlando.”
Lewis will be cheered on by a large family contingent from Ohio.
“The Lew Crew will be out again in force this week,” Lewis said. “My little nephew will be running around, so hopefully he brings me some good luck this weekend.”
Cole Wysocki — known to wear a shirt that says, “My aunt’s a better golfer than yours.” — was on hand when Lewis won the North Texas Shootout this season.
“Of course, he runs the show,” Lewis said.
Michigan State player Lindsey McPherson, playing on a sponsor exemption, was star-struck when she crossed paths with Lewis in the locker room.
“I had to lift my chin up off the ground, I had my mouth wide open,” McPherson said. “I passed her once and I was so startled that I didn’t actually get a chance to say anything, but I would love to get a picture with her this week if I can.”
The 29-year-old Lewis feels a bit old when that happens.
“I still feel like that kid that was just coming out of college. I don’t feel like I’ve been gone that long, but obviously, I have, if I’ve got college kids looking up to me,” Lewis said. “But it’s a great thing.”
Third-ranked No. 3 Inbee Park also is in the field along with No. 4 Suzann Pettersen, No. 5 Lexi Thompson and Women’s British Open winner Mo Martin.
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