WILLIAMSBURG — Last year Stacy Lewis won consecutive LPGA Tour events to seize the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. Look for the sequel Sunday at the Kingsmill Championship.
Now forecasting a golf tournament after only a portion of the field has completed two rounds is as hazardous as a 3-wood from spinach rough to a green guarded by gators. And Lewis figures to encounter considerable resistance, particularly from Lexi Thompson and three-time Kingsmill champion Cristie Kerr, Nos. 6 and 10 in the world, respectively.
But Lewis' 6-under-par 65 Friday and 7-under aggregate through two rounds put her in prime position on a course where she's comfortable and confident.
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Kingsmill on the James
Among players who completed their second round Friday — play was delayed three-plus hours by morning rain — Lewis trails only Hee Young Park. A two-time winner on Tour, Park is at 8-under 134 despite left-wrist inflammation that's been dogging her for two months.
"Icing is my best friend," Park said with a smile.
Lewis has no such issues. She's healthy and hunting her 10th career victory, all since early 2011.
Her most recent win was two weeks ago, when she lapped the field at the North Texas Shootout — Lewis hails from suburban Houston — by six shots. The Tour was idle last week, and with top-ranked Inbee Park absent at Kingsmill, Lewis has a chance to reclaim the No. 1 spot she earned in 2013 with back-to-back trophies in Singapore and Phoenix.
Here's how well Lewis is playing:
"Even when I have a bad day, I find a way to shoot 1- or 2-under and keep myself in the tournament," she said during her Kingsmill prep. "I think … Texas was a great example. Saturday I didn't make anything. I putted horribly, and I was still tied for the lead going into Sunday. …
"I love being in contention. I love hitting shots under pressure and seeing how I respond and seeing the people around me respond. I think that's the true test of your game. Anybody can hit the first tee shot. It's what do you do after that."
Lewis did plenty Friday, despite trying conditions early in the round. She hit 16 of 18 greens and did not come close to making a bogey.
Her only brush with a blemish was the par-4 eighth hole, where she ran her first putt about 5 feet past the hole. Five of the six birdie putts she made were inside 10 feet.
"I was consistent and never really had to work too hard," Lewis said.
Must be nice, ey? A routine, no-sweat 65.
But after a jarring introduction to the River Course, Lewis has come to appreciate and excel on Pete Dye's creation.
Her debut here was in 2009, her rookie season. An opening-round 77 left her 13 shots behind leader Lorena Ochoa and doomed her to miss the cut, despite a Friday 70. That bounce-back started a streak that now stands at 11 consecutive rounds of par or better at Kingsmill.
Lewis tied for ninth here in 2012 and for fifth in '13. She entered the final round last year two behind eventual winner Kerr, only to fade with two early bogeys.
"I think this is the kind of course … the more you play it the more you understand it," Lewis said. "And so I think every year my results have shown that. I've played a little bit better every year. Coming in here as a rookie, it's a hard golf course to play because the greens are tricky. The more you play it and the better notes you take, definitely seems to help. …
"It's definitely a ball striker's course. You just have to keep hitting a bunch of greens and getting a few putts here and there. … I like when you have to adjust and think a little bit. I like a challenge."
The circuit's leader in greens in regulation, Lewis is as pure a ball-striker as you'll find on the LPGA Tour. She'll start Saturday three strokes clear of Kerr, and unlike fellow contenders Thompson, Azahara Munoz and Lizette Salas, none of whom completed their round Friday, Kerr and Lewis will only have to play 18 holes Saturday.
"Oh, I'm very excited," Lewis said. "They had the better end of the draw (Thursday) playing in a little bit less wind (in the morning), and then today I think we got the better end of the draw. So it's definitely nice to have the second round done, especially just energy level going into the weekend.
"To come out on a Saturday morning to finish five or six holes and then turn around and start again is pretty tough. I think we have a little energy level advantage."
As if Lewis needed an edge.