The conditions at The Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic being played in the rain-soaked Bahamas this week at the Ocean Club Golf Course are trying, to say the least. With the course being shortened to 12 holes, The World’s number two player, Stacy Lewis got off to a bit of a rocky start, but ended her first round on Friday at -1 under par five strokes off the lead. At the end of the 2nd round — she carded -4 — she was still five strokes off the lead, but had climbed half-way up the rankings. Can she finish the job on Sunday?
The abbreviated Round 1 at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic ended with Hee-Won Han in the lead at 7 under par, an impressive score given the challenging conditions — soggy fairways and greens, no roll, greens not breaking predictably, and bunkers filled with wet sand. How did she shoot -7 for 12 holes? Two eagles, 4 birdies a bogie and a quintet of pars got her there. Stacy Lewis, who’s round included a bogey on 8 and a double bogie on 11, came in at a disappointing 1 under par and is way back in the pack. Lewis played a steady, bogey-free 2nd round and carded a -4 while Han dropped to the back of the pack with 3 bogeys, ending her 2nd round with a +1. Paola Moreno, who carded -5 and -4 in the Friday and Saturday rounds claimed the top of the leaderboard with her steady play. What will Sunday bring in this fluid, first-time LPGA Tournament?
Lewis certainly has the stats to make a strong run at the lead. Her drive is long — a 259 yard average. But the drive is only one shot and I’ve recovered from enough bad drives and gone on to make par that I know a long drive will give Lewis only a good start. It takes more than a better drive to take a hole or win a round. This shortened tournament on a soggy course leaves little room to recover from mediocre or inconsistent play. Lewis needs birdies and eagles. Pars aren’t going to win this tournament I always try to sharpen my chips when I’m playing against an opponent who can out-putt me, and that means Lewis will need to go up and down 12 times on Sunday. She certainly has the technical skills to play a more aggressive game and take the risky shots she needs to move to the top, but technical skills are only one element in the winning equation.
I found it a bit curious that in her post-round 1 interview Lewis claimed the two back=to-back par 3s unsettled her. Every round has its surprises and tournament rounds at all levels of play are peppered with unanticipated course challenges and the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic has more than its share. But regardless of the conditions, the game of golf is played best by those who maintain firm control of heart and mind and take advantage of every opportunity to cut a stroke and advance. Rounds and tournaments are won (and lost) one shot at a time. If Lewis can dial in the same game that brought her from behind at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup tournament to pull ahead of Ai Miyazato in the final two holes to claim a win that earned her the #1 player rank, then she can do the same at Pure Silk-Bahamas. But she needs to hit her ball, not her bag, and focus on putting her ball where it needs to be for the next shot.
Elizabeth is a regular in The Golf Community at Google+