Stacey Lewis has said she has been inspired by 2021 Open Champion Collin Morikawa as she heads to Scotland to defend her Women’s Scottish Open.
Lewis believes the way Morikawa played links golf at this year’s Championship at Royal St. George’s is a ‘great example’ and has inspired her ahead of her own links challenge at Dumbarnie Links in Leven.
Speaking ahead of her title defence the 36-year-old said: “People do see the importance of it. They do really learn how to play links golf. I think, if you look back, you have seen the field for the Scottish Open get better and better every year.”
The American claimed the title at last year’s event at North Berwick, after defeating Cheyenne Knight, Azahara Munoz and Emily Kristine Pedersen in a four-way play-off after all four golfers tied on five-under-par for the tournament at the top of the leaderboard.
As she makes her return to the British Isles the world No 54 is more than aware of the challenges facing her across the links course, and she believes mastering those tough conditions is something that is built over time, rather than instantly.
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She added: “Links golf is not something you just come over here and figure it out the first time. You have to learn it. People are now seeing the importance of it and Collin is just a great example of that.”
Morikawa secured his second major title of his short career by claiming the Claret Jug last month, as an impressive four-under-par 66 saw him move to 15-under for the tournament, clinching the title by two shots ahead of 54-hole leader Louis Oosthuizen.
The American’s victory at Royal St. George’s also wrote him into the history books, as he became the first golfer to win two major championships on two debuts after his maiden win at the 2020 PGA Championship last year.
Like her fellow countryman Morikawa, Lewis will also be looking for 2021 success on British shores as she looks to go back-to-back in Scotland’s flagship event at a place that holds a strong place in heart.
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Speaking about her love for Scotland the 36-year-old said: “I just love coming here to Scotland. This style of golf is so fun and so different from what we get to play on every week.
“People are asking me if I’m going to buy a house here in Scotland, but I don’t think I’m there just yet. You are going to play in bad weather with some wind, but I love that part.”
Lewis’ defence of her crown is already underway, as she began her 2021 event earlier this morning as she was joined by Australia’s Minjee Lee and Thailand’s Stthaya Thitikul on the first tee at 8:47am.