KINGSBARNS, Scotland – A pair of former World No. 1s and Ricoh Women’s British Open champions (the last two in Scotland) put on a show early on at a mostly calm and sunny Kingsbarns Golf Links, putting the rest of the field on notice. Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis have sorted out their putting and are now holed up somewhere dry to watch the rest of the field battle the elements along the North Sea.
“It’s up to the weather gods,” said Park.
Park didn’t even bother showing up to the putting green until Saturday morning she was so concerned about her ball-striking. Like many in the field, she struggled the first two days on slower-than-usual Kingsbarns greens. Saturday’s were a cut a bit faster, and Park reminded us all why she’s the best putter on tour.
Eight birdies and no dropped shots gave the seven-time major winner her career-low in a major with an 8-under 64, getting Park to 10 under for the tournament.
“You know, playing with Inbee, you’re going to see putts go in,” said Lewis. I think it’s helpful to watch that and see it. She made it look pretty easy.”
Lewis credited a putting tip from her mother, Carol, for the day’s success. That’s a first, by the way. It was during a technical conversation about putting that Carol, who is not a golfer, asked: “Well, it should just go straight back and straight through, right?”
Lewis came to the course on Saturday morning with that thought in mind and poured in nine birdies, including four consecutive to close the round. She’s 9 under through 54 holes after a 7-under 65 in Round 3.
Lewis brought back the same gang that was with her in 2013 when she won at the Old Course, booking out The Dunvegan Hotel and staying in the same room. An added member to the group, of course, is husband Gerrod Chadwell, who wasn’t in the picture four years ago.
The first thing Lewis did when she arrived in St. Andrews was take Chadwell to the Road Hole so he could see where she hit the 5-iron of her life to 3 feet. Then they walked over the Swilken Bridge, and she reminisced on the closing birdie that gave her a two-shot victory for her second major title.
Even Arkansas coach Shauna Estes-Taylor is on hand.
“I can hear her whistles and cheers on the golf course,” said Lewis. “That coach’s whistle never seems to go away. It’s just fun having her here.”
Both Lewis and Park are quick players, and each commented on how nice it was play at a good clip.
“I think we ran that group in front of us off the golf course,” Lewis quipped.