Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lewis Eager for Tour Try; Bolles Graduate, 19, Gets Her Game in Shape for a Shot at LPGA Card

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lewis Eager for Tour Try; Bolles Graduate, 19, Gets Her Game in Shape for a Shot at LPGA Card

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Her putting stroke improved, and her confidence high, Amelia Lewis will attempt to make history beginning today in the first round of the LPGA National Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach.

Lewis, 19, is trying to become the first Jacksonville native to be fully exempt on the LPGA since Colleen Walker in 1982.

The difference is that Walker's family moved to West Palm Beach before she played in high school. Lewis, a Bolles graduate and a three-time Times-Union high school player of the year, is Jacksonville-born and bred and played golf at every level on the First Coast - junior golf, high school and amateur events.

"It's exciting to have this chance," she said. "I feel like I'm ready."

Lewis will have to make a 36-hole and 72-hole cut at the LPGA International, then finish among the top 20, plus ties, to get her LPGA card for the 2011 season.

The next 20 players will have conditional status.

Players who survive all five rounds will play two rounds on the Legends Course and two on the Champions Course, before playing the final round on the Champions Course Dec. 12.

"I'm going to be comfortable on those courses," Lewis said. "They're typical Florida courses, and there will be some wind, but that's what I've been playing my whole life."

Because she finished 19th on the Duramed Futures Tour last season, Lewis was exempt from first- and second-stage qualifying.

She's been practicing or playing six days a week and working with Sea Island Club instructors Todd Anderson on her full swing and Mike Shannon on her putting.

"We've made some nice progress over the last few months, and I'm optimistic about her chances," Anderson said.

Lewis said she's made the most strides with her putting. In the past, she said her main fault was leaving putts short, then being over-aggressive. The cycle would repeat itself too many times.

"Everyone knows that putting is the most important thing in golf, but you never truly realize it until you've got money on the line, where you can win thousands or lose thousands if you make or miss a putt," she said. …

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