Jessica Lewis, a Bethesda native playing in her first U.S. Women's Open, had no complaints about her experience at the Orchards Golf Club this week, even though she missed the cut by three shots after a second-round 79 Friday knocked her out of the tournament.
Lewis, who learned the game at Columbia Country Club and is a two-time winner of the Maryland state amateur, has been playing golf since age 14. She'll turn 23 next week, and the 2003 graduate of James Madison University said she'll never forget starting this tournament Thursday with back-to-back birdies on her opening two holes on the way to a first nine of 2-under 34.
"What I did on the front Thursday, I realized I really do have the potential to be out here playing at this level," Lewis said Friday afternoon. "Now it's just a question of working hard and focusing more. I need better course management, because I made a couple of poor decisions [Friday] that probably cost me a chance to make the cut."
Nine holes was as far as Lewis got Thursday, because a three-hour storm delay led to the first round being suspended by darkness. As a result, Lewis and 74 other players had to resume their rounds at 7 a.m. on Friday, and she had to play 27 holes.
Lewis said she barely got any sleep because of another crashing overnight thunderstorm. She woke up to stay at 4:30 a.m. to get to the course and warm up. She completed her first round with bogeys on her last three holes for a 39 on the back nine, good for a 2-over 73 that left her tied for 40th.
She had about 15 minutes to take a deep breath, sign her scorecard and eat a banana before she had to tee off for her second round. Her chances of making the cut started getting away from her at the 412-yard 18th hole (her ninth of the round) when she made the first of two double bogeys on her card.
Lewis, who attended St. Andrews High in Potomac, is now playing the LPGA Futures circuit since turning professional in March. She's still living at her parents home in Bethesda and supporting herself without any sponsors, using money she saved by being on a golf scholarship at JMU to keep going.
"So far I'm pretty happy with how I've played" on the Futures Tour, she said. "When I started, my main goal was to make cuts out there. For me to get my scoring down, I need to set my goals higher and starting thinking about finishing in the top 10. I can't make the big mistakes that I did here this week."
Same Spot, Different Times
For the second straight day, a player holed out for eagle from virtually the same spot at the 377-yard 15th hole. On Thursday, first-round leader Brittany Lincicome hit a 125-yard 7-iron from the left rough into the hole on her way to taking the first round lead.
On Friday, veteran Kelli Robbins, who lost in a playoff a year ago to eventual champion Hillary Lunke, holed out from virtually the exact same place for an eagle that got her to 2 under for the tournament at the time.
Robbins, who started her second round on the back nine, had a lovely run of three straight birdies right before the eagle, playing four holes in 5 under on her way to a round of 67.