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March 18, 2013

GOLF: Ex-Razorback Stacy Lewis moves to No. 1 with LPGA Founders Cup

PHOENIX — When told she could take the No. 1 spot in the world with a victory at Desert Ridge, Stacy Lewis plugged her ears and jokingly chanted, "La-la-la-la-la."

A few days and 72 exciting holes later, she was more than willing to talk.

Yes, the determined Texan who wore a back brace 18 hours a day for six years had jumped from third to first in the world with a comeback victory Sunday in the LPGA Founders Cup.

Diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 11, she thought back to her trying teen years.

"Every setback you have along the way, everything good that happens, it all happens for a reason," said Lewis, now 28. "I couldn't have dreamed the kid growing up wearing a back brace 18 hours a day is the No. 1 player in the world."

When the brace failed to correct the curvature in her spine, she had surgery to insert a rod and five screws in her back.

"That was just 10 years ago," Lewis said. "That's not normal, that's not supposed to happen. I mean, I'm not, I'm really not supposed to be here. People with metal in their back, how do you play golf? I don't know. I don't know how. I don't know why I'm here."

Coming off a victory two weeks ago in Singapore, Lewis won her seventh LPGA Tour title. She won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco and has six victories in her last 23 events, four last season when she was the tour player of the year.

"I'm having a blast on the golf course," Lewis said. "To be No. 1 in the world, it's what everybody out here on tour is working for."

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