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Golf

Leader Making Amazing Pro Debut

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 23, 2013 at 07:29 AM
EDINA, Minn. -

EDINA, Minn. - The third-round leader of the U.S. Women's Open has an amazing story.

Stacy Lewis, 23, turned professional earlier this month before going to Women's Open sectional qualifying.

That makes this week's Women's Open the professional debut for the former Arkansas NCAA national champion and U.S. Curtis Cup team player. So far she is 9 under and leads by one shot.

And that's not the most surprising thing about the resident of The Woodlands, Texas.

"I have scoliosis," Lewis said. "I found out that I had it when I was 11."

She fought the ailment by wearing a hard plastic brace, and still became a champion junior golfer. But in high school - shortly after signing with Arkansas - she learned surgery would be necessary.

"They put a rod and five screws in my back, just to straighten my spine out," she said.

After four months, and in another back brace for rehab, Lewis was allowed to chip and putt. Finally, a year later, she was fit to return to competition, except was uncertain of her position on the Razorbacks golf team.

Then everybody knew.

"After I red-shirted, our team had a qualifier," she said. "And we played like five rounds to qualify for the tournament. I won it by 20 shots."

Sorenstam Undone By Putter

Annika Sorenstam's hopes of winning her fourth U.S. Women's Open title in her final career appearance are being ruined by a balky putter.

After Saturday's third-round 72, Sorenstam is 2 under and seven shots back going into today's final round. For the week, the 37-year-old Swede, who has announced plans to retire at season's end, has needed 98 putts through three rounds. Birdie chance after birdie chance went unfulfilled Saturday as putts missed the cup.

"I'm about to cry," Sorenstam said. "When you do everything you can and then it just doesn't happen ... I cannot hit the ball any better. I cannot put myself in a better position and I really don't know what to do."

No Michelle

Michelle Wie had to return to Interlachen CC early Saturday morning so she could officially be told to leave.

With one hole left to play Friday evening when darkness suspended second-round play, Wie was helplessly down the scoreboard with no chance of surviving the cut. Yet, to her credit, she returned early Saturday morning to make par for a 75.

After opening with an 81, the 18-year-old one-time junior star finished 10 over and missed the cut by six shots.

"Well, I parred 9 at 7 o'clock in the morning, so that feels pretty good," Wie said. "You know, I hit great shots. My irons were great. I left myself the hardest putts on the golf course. A couple of missed putts here and there, but I played solidly."

It is the second straight year Wie has missed the cut after finishing third in 2006.

Ochoa No Factor

Lorena Ochoa is going to remain the world's No. 1-ranked woman, but she's going to go without the U.S. Women's Open title, too.

Ochoa, winner of two of the last three women's majors played, shot a 3-over-par 76 Saturday, leaving her a whopping 12 shots behind the leaders.

Good Vibes

Paula Creamer, one shot out of the lead, says she has a special bond with Interlachen CC.

She attended the 2002 Solheim Cup here as a member of the U.S. Junior Team.

"The highlight of my golf career before I was professional was during the Solheim Cup," she said. "I came out here and watched and it was the coolest thing I've ever seen how many people came out to represent and watch their country. I got to carry Juli Inkster's bag up the 18th fairway, and she's always been my role model. And it was the coolest day I've ever had. To have a chance to win the U.S. Open today on a place that's touched my life, it means a lot."

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