Nothing felt more humbling to Stacy Lewis than having a U.S. Women’s Open champion ask for her autograph.
Yuka Saso, the 20-year-old who tied Inbee Park as youngest player to win the U.S. Open (19 years, 11 months, 17 days), played with Lewis on Thursday and Friday at the Marathon LPGA Classic in Ohio.
“Gosh, what a talent. Just fun energy and a really likable kid,” said Lewis when asked about the young major champion.
Saso walked up to Lewis after her second round and asked Lewis to sign her glove. “I said, ‘Is this for you?’ Lewis recalled, “and she kind of put her head down and said, ‘Yes.’ So, I put her name on it and everything.”
Sixteen years apart and both players are major winners.
“Just really fun to see a young talent like that. If that’s what’s coming up, we’re in a great spot,” said Lewis following her bogey-free, 6-under 65 on Saturday.
Despite being 12 years older than the average player on the LPGA (24.5 years old), Lewis continues to prove that golf is an ageless sport.
“I think Phil showed that with winning a major, that a good short game can play with anybody,” said Lewis, referring to the 2021 PGA champion. “That’s been my goal over the last year: See how good I can get my short game. I still feel like I can be really competitive there.”
A 65 to start the weekend validated her point well.
“I mean, just a lot of really solid golf shots. There wasn’t really grinding too much on par putts. Like I said, just easy golf,” said Lewis.
Her playing partner, Saso, followed suit with a 64. Saso had seven birdies, an eagle on the par-4 ninth and just two bogeys.
“I think my short game and putting was really good today,” said Saso. “Finishing birdie, birdie, I’ll take it. I’m really happy.”
Saso became an LPGA member after winning the U.S. Open and has a simple game plan for Sunday: “I will just do whatever I did the last couple days. Just enjoy it and learn from it. Learn again tomorrow,” she said.
Both Saso and Lewis are inside the top 10 after their combined 13-under day. However, they remain eight and nine shots back, respectively, from leader Nasa Hataoka, who is running away from the field.