Stacy Lewis returns at Safeway Classic
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stacy Lewis is back. Inbee Park is out.
The second-ranked Lewis is set to return to play Thursday in the Safeway Classic after withdrawing from the Canadian Women’s Open last week, while the top-ranked Park has pulled out of the event because of flu-like symptoms.
“I’ve never withdrawn before. It was physically hard for me to call the official and withdraw. ... Mentally, I was fried,” said Lewis, who withdrew after the first round in Edmonton, Alberta. “It was probably the best thing I could have done. People have already said, “Man, you look a lot better.′ I guess I should take that as a compliment.”
The Women’s British Open champion was exhausted after a draining and disappointing Solheim Cup in the United States’ blowout loss to Europe. In addition to her major victory Aug. 4 at St. Andrews, the Texan won consecutive early season events in Singapore and Phoenix.
Park withdrew Tuesday. The South Korean star swept the first three majors of the year and has six victories this season. She has struggled in her last two events, tying for 42nd in the Women’s British Open and fading over the weekend in Canada en route a tie for 13th.
“I’m disappointed I will be unable to play this week in Portland due to an illness,” Park said in a statement. “Safeway is such a great supporter of our tour, and I always look forward to playing in front of the crowds in Oregon.”
A 72-hole event for the time, the tournament returns to Columbia Edgewater after four years at Pumpkin Ridge. The purse has been slashed from $1.5 million last year to $1.3 million.
“A proper golf tournament is played at 72 holes,” said Suzann Pettersen, the 2011 champion.
Lewis said there’s less margin for error in a 54-hole tournament.
“Fifty-four holes feels like such a sprint,” Lewis said. “If you have a bad stretch of holes, you’re pretty much out of it.”
Japan’s Mika Miyazato is the defending champion. She said playing at Columbia Edgewater, rather than Pumpkin Ridge, won’t be an issue for her.
“I like this golf course. I can play more aggressive,” Miyazato said.
Spain’s Beatriz Recari, a two-time winner this season, also is in the field along with Cristie Kerr, the winner in 2008 the last time the event was played at Columbia Edgewater.