LPGA: Stacy Lewis hoping experience makes the difference in shortened Portland event

In a season that’s already anomalous, this setting is surreal.

After surviving intense Sonoran Desert heat last week, LPGA players have dealt with deep, dark mornings as steady smoke layers flow over the Pacific Northwest from nearby wildfires.

Thursday finally brought a little light, but the Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club has been shortened into 54 holes, meaning it was a practice day for players in advance of Friday’s first round.

Stacy Lewis knows Columbia, she won this event back in 2017, and feels her experience could make a tremendous difference in the condensed format.

“Experience is going to be huge this week. Just knowing how this golf course plays, and it’s just going to be how firm are the fairways or how firm are the greens, you know just trying to get a feel for that more than anything,” said Lewis, who goes off the back to open Friday’s first round at 11:21 ET with Ariya Jutanugarn and Brittany Lincicome.

“But fortunately, my game is in a good spot where I don’t feel like I need to go grind like crazy right now.  It’s just kind of getting the rust off of the last few days.”

Lewis is hoping to build off last week’s showing at the ANA Inspiration, where she finished alone in fifth, three shots behind eventual victor Mirim Lee.

Stacy Lewis is lifted by her caddie Travis Wilson on the 18th green after her victory during the final round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club on September 3, 2017 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

“Truthfully, I probably played better than the scores even showed,” she said of her score of 276, which earned her $128,524. “I just had a lot of putts that didn’t go in, but was able to really manage my game really good and hit the shots I wanted to hit, which is something that you know the last three or four years I haven’t been able to do.”

The first round will be shown on tape delay on the Golf Channel, starting at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night.

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