Stacy Lewis, ranked No. 4 in the world, will be one of the favorites in next month’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee. The LPGA major will have special meaning for her because she is sponsored by KPMG, a global business-service firm.

Share story

Stacy Lewis admits going nearly two years without a win on the LPGA Tour has been frustrating, especially being so close so many times, but you don’t have to worry about her mindset.

Lewis, who has had two stints as the world’s top-ranked player, has endured a much tougher struggle than this, overcoming years of wearing a back brace as a kid followed by major surgery before college.

Lewis, ranked No. 4 in the world, will be one of the favorites in next month’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish. The LPGA major will have special meaning for her because she is sponsored by KPMG, a global business-service firm.

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

When: June 9-12, with practice rounds June 7-8.

Where: Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish

Purse: $3.5 million (second highest on LPGA Tour).

Defending champion: Inbee Park

Favorite: Lydia Ko, 19, the world’s No. 1 player, has won the past two LPGA majors.

Tickets: Single-day adult tickets are $10 for practice rounds, $20 for the first two rounds and $25 for the final two rounds. Tickets for the week are $75. Juniors 17 and under are free with a paid adult. To purchase or for more information, go to

“The majors are what my focus is on now,” said Lewis, 31, who has two major wins among her 11 LPGA victories and tied for second in the Yokohama Tire Classic that ended Sunday. “I really want to play well with KPMG having their name on the tournament. It will be a big week for both of us.”

Lewis has played in 49 tournaments since her last win in June 2014, when she was enjoying her second stint as the world’s top-ranked player (the first time was for four weeks in 2013). But the victory drought paints an inaccurate picture of how good she has been. She has made 48 cuts in that span, with 23 top-10 finishes, including 10 seconds.

“I have been frustratingly close at times and far off at times, but my game is trending in the right direction,” said Lewis, who is engaged to University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell. “It’s about getting comfortable being in the last groups, and pulling off the shots when you need to.

“You have expectations and people have expectations for you, to get in the final group and win every week, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Just getting to this point has been a battle for Lewis. At age 11 during a school screening exam, it was discovered she had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. For 6½ years, she wore a cumbersome back brace for 18 hours a day, shedding it only to play golf.

“Golf was actually pretty easy, because it was the one time I didn’t have to wear the brace,” she said.

“That was the six hours I got to work without it.”

Lewis said it was uncomfortable wearing and sleeping with the brace in the hot climate of Texas.

“It’s not what you want for a kid who is 11, being a girl and worrying what you look like,” she said.

Lewis did well enough in golf to earn a scholarship to Arkansas, but before starting as a Razorback, she underwent surgery to have a rod and five screws inserted into her spine.

Lewis did not know if she would be able to play golf again. But after months of rehab while redshirting for a season, she went on to have one of the greatest careers in collegiate history, winning 12 times including the 2007 NCAA championship.

“If I had not gone through everything that I did, I would not be the person or the golfer that I am now,” said Lewis, who volunteers at Arkansas when her schedule allows. “It changes your outlook in what you get to do, and not what you have to do. I am more thankful.”

In the year and a half since Lewis was last No. 1, her biggest challengers have changed. Lydia Ko, who just turned 19, has been No. 1 since last fall. Brooke Henderson, 18, is ranked No. 5.

“It’s getting harder to win the last two years,” Lewis said. “You could use to have one off round and still win, but now to win you have to play good golf for four days. The talent is getting younger and so much better. The quality of golf is amazing. They are 18 to 20 and they have great short games, are good putters and are hitting it farther. Everything is changing.”

What hasn’t changed in years is Lewis at or near the top of the world rankings, with a streak of 244 weeks in the top 10. She has made 135 of 139 cuts since the start of 2011, with 83 top-10 finishes. Lewis will try to add to those lofty numbers at Sahalee, a course she looks forward to playing.

“I’ve seen pictures of it, and it looks unbelievable,” said Lewis, who said she is not planning to come to the course until the week of the event. “People are going to see some good golf.”