Lewis aims high

AWESOME AMERICAN: Stacy Lewis won three titles this year to move up to No. 3 in the world.

UNITIED STATES - After a long season, Stacy Lewis is taking a well-deserved break from golf.

The 28-year-old American notched three wins on the US LPGA Tour this year to rise to No. 3 in the world rankings.

She narrowly missed out on a fourth title earlier this month when she finished one stroke behind Thai rising star Pornanong Phatlum at the Dubai Ladies Masters - the Ladies European Tour's season-ending event. Despite the heartbreak, Lewis is pleased with her terrific year on the LPGA Tour. Now, she's relishing a break from the greens.

Speaking to The New Paper in a phone interview from her home in Florida, she said: "I have to let my body rest for a while. I want to keep going, especially with the way I've been playing.

"But to play in 2014 as well as I did this past year, I need to recharge."

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Like this year, Lewis is hoping to get her 2014 season off to flying start at the HSBC Women's Champions at Sentosa Golf Club, where she is the reigning champion.

Along with South Korea's world No. 1, Park Inbee and No. 2 Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Lewis will be one of the headline acts at the Serapong Course, from Feb 27 to March 2.

The Florida native reached the summit of women's golf earlier this year after winning the HSBC event for the first time.

But her top ranking lasted just four weeks as Park created history by winning the first three Majors of the year.

Lewis fought back with wins at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup and the British Open, while Pettersen closed the rankings gap after claiming the final Major of the year at the Evian Masters.

Park, however, was uncatchable.

"I didn't think it was possible to win three Majors," said Lewis about Park's feat. "Inbee, Suzann and myself had an amazing season. We kept the pressure on each other all year, and I'm sure we'll continue to do well in 2014.

"Winning the HSBC was a huge confidence boost, and it really kick-started the year for me.

"It's everyone's favourite event, one that everyone wants to win. Apart from the golf, there's so much I'm looking forward to seeing and doing in Singapore."

According to Lewis, world No. 4 Lydia Ko of New Zealand poses the biggest threat to the top three golfers next year.

Lydia, 16, became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour when she won the 2012 Canadian Open as an amateur.

She defended her Canadian crown in August and recently announced her plans to turn professional next year.

"Lydia has always been solid and consistent. Nothing flashy, but she manages to get the ball in the hole," said Lewis.

"She'll have some growing pains early in the year, with all the travelling and being under the spotlight. But she'll come good in the end.

"You can throw her into the mix and call it the 'Big Four' next year.

Lewis' big goal next year is to reclaim the No. 1 spot, although she admits there are "many goals" before getting there.

"Being No. 1 is in the back of my mind," Lewis said.

"I just have to focus on winning tournaments and the Majors, first. Next year, one thing I have to do better is manage my schedule.

"Once I sort that out and start winning events, the rest will just work out by itself."


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