CHICAGO, United States (AFP)–Two-time major champion Stacy Lewis plays her last event before a maternity break at this week’s LPGA Marathon Classic, returning to her hometown before taking time off the tour until next year.
The 33-year-old American is due to give birth to a baby daughter on November 3 and has no plans for a full LPGA return until next March after starting Thursday at Highland Meadows near Toledo, Ohio.
“It is the last one,” Lewis said. “Just taking it day by day, resting as much as I can. Getting pretty tired and the heat obviously doesn’t help things. So just kind of minimizing the practice and maximizing what I can get done.
“This was my first LPGA tournament I played in. It was one I came to when I was a little kid getting autographs. So a lot of fun memories here.”
Lewis has won 12 LPGA titles, including major crowns at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship and 2013 women’s British Open. But for now, her major excitement will be preparing for her new arrival.
“I’m excited to go home and design a nursery and do all that stuff at the same time with my husband. I’m just really looking forward to these four or five months,” Lewis said.
“I don’t know about getting my game back. I just take it as it comes and see how it goes… I think by March I should be in pretty good shape.”
Her most recent victory came last year at Portland but she hopes to win this week in the same fashion as tennis star Serena Williams, who won last year’s Australian Open while pregnant.
“I just want to show people and kind of prove to myself that you can have a family, have a career, be successful out here,” Lewis said.
“We can travel the United States and have a family, and show my little girl she can do whatever she wants. She may not ever remember it, but just for her to know that she’s part of it with me.”
Lewis is already feeling some company on the course and when she putts.
“Just in the last few weeks I kind of feel some movement and things like that,” Lewis said.
“You’re standing on the tee and you feel a kick or something here and there, so that’s kind of strange. The golf swing really hasn’t changed much. Just working on some putting because it’s getting a little bit in the way.”
South Korea’s seventh-ranked I.K. Kim is the defending champion and second highest-ranked player in the field behind American world number five Lexi Thompson.
Kim fired her career-best 72-hole total of 21-under par in Toledo last year and two weeks later won her first major title at the women’s British Open.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” Kim said. “It just kind of came together after winning the tournament, so I really just feel grateful for everything that happened.”
© Agence France-Presse