Senior Blair Lewis has already been a part of three Big West Championships and carved out a good collegiate career for herself over the past three years. This summer, Lewis committed herself to finish out her time at UC Davis, and has been outstanding, finishing first of all Aggies at two of their four tournaments. As of Oct. 29, Lewis was ranked No. 135 individually in the country.
The California Aggie had the chance to sit down with Lewis and discuss how she got into golf, what spurred on her major improvement, and much more.
So let’s get started with how and when you got into golf:
I started playing in tournaments when I was seven. My Dad just took me out to the driving range when I was five. My uncle played professional baseball and he had an equipment contract and got a set of golf clubs, but he was obviously too busy to play so he gave my dad the clubs and he got into it, and then I just tagged along and haven’t stopped playing [since] then.
Why did you choose UC Davis?
I really wanted a school that had a good balance between academics and golf. UC Davis is a great school academically, but then the golf is also very competitive so it was a really good fit for me. And then, when I met Coach Walker and just met everyone on the team, I felt like it was the place for me.
And you played very well your first year; I know you were an honorable mention for All-Big West. What was the transition like to playing against tougher competition in college?
For golf, high school is not necessarily as important, it’s more about the tournaments you play outside of the high school scene. It’s different, obviously, because everyone in college is really good. I guess it was difficult for me being on my own and having to balance missing a ton of school and having to constantly be on the road. Also, just being on a true team and having that pressure like, ‘Oh, well I want to perform well, not just for myself, but for the team.’
So you guys (the team) played really well over your first three tournaments and then had a few more struggles in the last one, finishing 13 out of a 17-team field. What do you think that finish will do for your team as you head into the offseason getting ready for the next round?
It was a really tough round (the Stanford Invitational). I think we learned a lot and we have a lot to work on during the offseason. We just really have to stay dedicated and keep on doing what we are doing, really individually [working] on our games and just [being] prepared for spring.
You averaged 77.5 strokes per round last season and have had a huge jump to 74.1. What happened, and what did you do differently over this past offseason?
This past year I really just told myself to practice a lot harder and for longer hours and to have more efficient practices. I played three tournaments in a row, so that helped. I just really put my heart and soul into trying to get better, not just for myself but for the team. I think that this year I am just really team-oriented.
I made a goal of the stroke average I wanted, that I was going to average 73. I think the biggest thing that I decided to do was work on my short game. Everybody in college can hit the ball, but what really separates the good players from the OK players is short-game percentage. That is what has really helped me, is just focusing on my short game.
So then what are your goals for the team and for yourself this year?
For the spring, an individual goal of mine would be to win a college tournament. With the good work I have been putting in, it is definitely possible. For the team, we just really want to be in contention at regionals and just make it all of the way to the National Championship. We have been working really hard and that would just be a great end to the year to make it all of the way to nationals.
Best memory so far for the past four years?
Mike Robles, Assistant Athletic Director: Hole-in-one!
Lewis: Oh, yeah! Last year at regionals I had a hole-in-one in the first round, second to last hole. I needed that one. That was great and it was a pretty tough hole. And the pin was behind a dip, so I hit it and thought, ‘Oh, that is pretty good,’ and then it rolled past so I thought, ‘Oh, that is somewhere pretty close,’ but I didn’t see it. Then the people near the green said, ‘It went in!’ and I said, ‘Yes!’
What’s next for you after UC Davis?
Honestly I don’t have plans, I am just trying to [enjoy] college while it lasts. I can really only see myself playing golf, however it is very difficult to pursue golf after college. I’ll just have to see how I play in spring to feel it out. If all of a sudden I am playing lights out, then yeah, I’ll go for it.
Last question, do you have any athletic role models that you look up to?
I would say no, but I guess I admire Michelle Wie with the issues that she was having with her putting. She all of the sudden changed her putting stance to the Table Top putting stance, and everyone was kind of like, ‘What is she doing? She looks ridiculous,’ and having to deal with all of the hate she is getting. And just how she continued to believe in what she was doing and ended up winning the U.S. Open and really sticking to her plan.
Graphics by Sandra Bae