A world traveler, 'Globetrotter' Lewis playing well

Amelia Lewis

Amelia Lewis

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Opening Amelia Lewis’ closet is like opening a box of crayons. As a Loudmouth-sponsored player, Lewis has received four of the clothing company’s brightly colored designs in pants, skirts and shorts for the past 2 1/2 years. Her closet is so full that her mother, Georgina, occasionally makes her sort through it and donate leftovers to friends and family members.

As flashy as Lewis’ appearance may be because of her association with Loudmouth, her on-course personality is the polar opposite. Lewis holed out a bunker shot on the 10th hole to start the first round of the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic on Friday. She turned in 6-under 30 at Lake Region Yacht and Country Club, and finished the day with a 5-under 67.

You wouldn’t have known unless you looked at her scorecard.

“I was putting very well,” Lewis said of her front nine. “On the back, my swing got away from me.”

Dad and caddie Chris says that kind of play is what earned his daughter the nickname Globetrotter. When her swing gets loose, Lewis sees a lot of the golf course. On Friday, she was able to hold it together long enough to post the best score of the morning.

For Lewis, 22, there has been quite a bit of globetrotting lately. The Jacksonville, Fla., native earned Ladies European Tour membership for 2012 and must play six events on that tour to stay eligible. She makes many of those decisions based on where in the world she wants to visit. Lewis is a self-described history buff who loves seeing new places, especially in Europe.

Mostly recently, Lewis’ love of travel took her Down Under. Lewis began the season at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, where she finished second to Lydia Ko by one shot. Lewis had to chase from the group behind Ko.

“She’s been good forever, but the world is just now seeing what she’s doing,” Lewis said of Ko, the 15-year-old New Zealander. “I kind of gave that (tournament) away because I missed a short putt to not go into a playoff (with Ko).”

Lewis was T-13 at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters the next week. She successfully Monday-qualified for the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup last week (with a 66), but missed the cut before entering this week’s Symetra Tour event. Lewis’ only rules for building her competition schedule are to pick the places abroad that she most wants to visit, and don’t play more than three weeks in a row overseas.

After her latest trip to Australia, her third in the past three years, Lewis announces she’s in love with that part of the world.

“I want to go back,” she said. “People are so friendly over there.”

The next must-play event for Lewis is the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St. Andrews, which has Lewis gunning to keep her top-25 position on the LET money list (she is No. 6).

Lewis isn’t sure what the rest of her year might look like. She was an LPGA rookie in 2011, and primarily played on that tour for the past two years. She’ll play as many Symetra Tour events this year as needed to beef up her status. Lewis already has decided that she’ll play any LPGA event to which she can gain access.

“If you play well, it’s all going to take care of itself,” she said of her status and her schedule.

Chris’ morning on the bag for the first round in Winter Haven was rare. It allowed him to spend time with his daughter, but Chris, a website designer, concedes he doesn’t know much about golf. His job is simple: talk.

“I’m there to hear her talk out loud,” he said of his role on the course. “We’ll talk about what I do. I’ll walk down the fairway and tell her what I did yesterday – just get off golf for a while, that’s all.”

Neither he nor Georgina plays golf, but Amelia took to the sport as a 10-year-old when she attended a summer golf camp at San Jose Country Club in Jacksonville. The Lewises just needed some way to keep Amelia busy while they were at work. She learned the games with clubs borrowed from Chris’ uncle. The game has afforded her a way to see the world.

Chris likely will turn the bag over to Georgina for the rest of the week and head home to Jacksonville. One parent generally stays home to take care of Amelia’s three younger siblings.

As for globetrotting Amelia, next week brings a trip to Agadir, Morocco, for the LET’s Lalla Meryem Cup.

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