Stacy Lewis is taking care of her baby by herself in Los Angeles this week.
Her mother had to depart after the flight back from Hawaii’s Lotte Championship on Monday, and her husband isn’t due to arrive until Thursday night, so it has been just the two of them at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open so far this week.
“I kind of just wanted to try it out and see how it worked,” Lewis told GolfChannel.com. “It’s been OK.”
OK? Lewis put up a bogey-free 6-under-par 65 Thursday to shoot to the top of the leaderboard among the morning wave at Wilshire Country Club. It’s her low round as a mom.
“I do feel like I’m running on fumes, though,” Lewis said. “Had a three-hour night the other night.”
Sleep deprivation comes with the territory these days, especially when mama’s flying solo.
There are all sorts of new challenges learning to juggle motherhood and tournament golf in Lewis’ return to the game. Lewis took Chesnee Lynn, her 6-month-old, to the UCLA medical center Wednesday night, worried that an ear infection that struck two weeks ago might have returned.
“She chose to have her worst night in months, right after my mother left,” Lewis said.
It wasn’t an ear infection.
“Teething,” Lewis said. “We’re dealing with two front teeth coming in.
“The last two nights combined, I’ve had about nine hours sleep.”
Full-field scores from the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open
There are challenges within the game that feel new again, too.
Lewis has slipped to No. 65 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, a slide that came taking off the second half of last season to prepare for Chesnee Lynn’s October birth. Lewis isn’t qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open, which is just five weeks away. She needs to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by the Monday of the championship, or make it through the sectional qualifier she is signed up for at Kingwood, Texas, in two weeks.
Or win this week, or next week in San Francisco or next month at the Pure Silk Bahamas. She’s planning to play all three weeks, with Chesnee Lynn in tow, of course.
“She goes wherever I go,” Lewis said.
A two-time major champion and former world No. 1, Lewis isn’t accustomed to worrying about qualifying for majors.
“I haven’t had to deal with this in a long time,” she said.
Lewis, 34, said she asked the USGA for a special exemption, but she was turned down. She is, however, holding out hope that the USGA may amend its maternity policy in a way that would allow her to play this year, should she need help getting into the championship scheduled for the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.).
Brittany Lincicome and Sarah Jane Smith received USGA maternity extensions, but that means they won’t be playing this year. They’re deferring their status until next year.
“I was told they were going to look into the maternity policy again, but I haven’t heard anything back,” Lewis said. “I don’t think you should have to make a choice.”
The LPGA amended its maternity policy this year, giving mothers more options and more time to return after giving birth.
Lewis can make it a moot point if she can claim her 13th LPGA title come Sunday.
“I feel like I’m playing really good golf,” Lewis said. “I just need more days like today, where ball striking and putting come together, because it’s there. It’s really not far off at all.”