SHIMA, Japan – Stacy Lewis is rested and ready to defend her title at the Mizuno Classic, the LPGA Tour's last stop on a five-event Asian Swing.
Lewis, who overcame a seven-stroke deficit to win last year's tournament, is coming off a three-week break from the tour and has big plans to add to her career titles.
"I'm not playing all the Asia tournaments just because I want to be fresh when I am playing and I want to play good and have a chance to win," said the No. 3-ranked Lewis, who leads the LPGA Tour in top-10 finishes this season with 16. Her three victories this season include a major championship, and she still has a remote shot at winning the player of the year award with three events remaining.
Karrie Webb of Australia and Jiyai Shin of South Korea, both past champions at the Mizuno Classic, figure to be among the main challengers to Lewis' title defense in Japan.
Webb claimed her 39th career victory in June, while Shin captured her first title of the year and 11th overall at the season-opening Australian Open.
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Shin won here in 2008 and 2010 while Webb took top honors in 2006.
The 54-hole Mizuno Classic is made up of 43 LPGA Tour players and 35 members of the LPGA of Japan.
Momoko Ueda was the last Japanese winner, taking the title in 2011 to follow up her win in 2007.
LPGA Tour rookie Ayako Uehara, two-year member Haru Nomura and Rolex Rankings No. 20 Mika Miyazato, who has posted four top-20 finishes at the Mizuno Classic in her five-year LPGA Tour career, will be among the favorites representing the host nation.
"This year I won the Japan Women's Open and that gave me confidence in my golf game," Miyazato said. "So hopefully, maybe a top-10 finish but maybe a win this week."