At the LPGA’s season-opening Diamond Ranch Tournament of Champions on Thursday, Stacy Lewis played her first competitive round on tour since going on maternity leave in July and giving birth to daughter, Chesnee Lynn, last October. Presumably you’d expect a little rust given the six-month layoff, not to mention the customary sleepless nights that accompany having a newborn. Yet the former World No. 1 had none of that, marching out to a five-under 66 during the opening round at Four Seasons Golf & Sports Club outside Orlando to trail leaders Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji by one stroke.
The highlight of the round might wind up being the best putt you’ll see in all of 2019. After a disappointing tee shot on the par-3 14th, Lewis made up for it with this birdie effort.
How long a putt was that? We’re not entirely sure the distance, although if you measured it in time, it took a full 11 seconds to go from the face of the club to the bottom of the cup.
Just how surprising was it that the ball went dark? Consider the commentary from Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie and Tom Abbott. They naturally Lewis would lag it up there and then try to clean up the par. So when the ball roll in, there were few people more surprised.
You can say that again.
After the round, Lewis seemed as surprised as anyone about how easy she made it look in her return.
“It's just exciting to see that I can take time off and have a baby, and my golf swing still comes back,” Lewis said. “You still know how to make putts, and just some assurance that it's still there. As sharp as it probably needs to be? No. But just that it's there. It's encouraging and makes you excited about coming back.”