Amelia Lewis bounces back after health woes

Amelia Lewis bounces back after health woes

Lewis bounces back after health woes

It took three trips to the emergency room and two surgeries in one day to ease the fierce abdominal pain LPGA member and Jacksonville native Amelia Lewis was suffering in January.  But less than 30 days later, she tied for sixth in last week’s New Zealand Women’s Open, her second top-10 finish in that event.

Lewis shot 69 in the final round. After an eagle on the second hole and a birdie at No. 9, she made the turn in a tie for the lead with Lydia Ko.

By the time Lewis reached No. 16, she had birdied four of her previous eight holes and had a one-shot lead over Ko. However, Lewis “hit a wall,” according to her mother, Gina, and bogeyed the final three holes. She finished the 54-hole tournament at 6-under 210, four shots behind Ko, who won her home country open for the third time in four years.

But it was a small miracle Lewis even played.

Lewis had been experiencing stomach pain in December and was rushed to the Mayo Clinic ER two days before Christmas. On Jan. 2, when she was playing at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club with one of her sponsors, Marty Fiorentino, she collapsed. Fiorentino got her to the Mayo Hospital emergency room where she was diagnosed with gall bladder issues.  After tests, Lewis was sent home in the hopes that the gall crystals would pass. But after another trip to the ER, Mayo doctors decided to remove her gall bladder. During that cholecystectomy procedure on Jan. 15, complications arose resulting in sphincterotomy surgery — which was performed later that same day.  Lewis was chipping and putting within a week, hitting full shots in another week, and boarded a plane last week to play her usual down-under schedule. She is playing in the Women’s Australian Open this week and is in the field for the Women’s Australian Masters next week, a Ladies European Tour event.

“I had never seen her in such pain,” Gina Lewis said of watching her daughter on a bed in the Mayo ER.

Lewis’ struggle down the stretch last week, her mother said, was a simple matter of exhaustion.  Her daughter is still experiencing some pain, and her stamina isn’t yet up to her previous level.  “She had been unable to work out, and when she got tired, she starting losing distance,” Gina Lewis said. “That put her in some bunkers she thought she could get over and that’s where the trouble started. We knew it would be tough.”

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Notable: Lewis is making her first LPGA start of the season after tying for sixth last week in the New Zealand Women’s Open. … Ko won that event, in her native country. She beat Amy Yang by two shots to win last year’s Australian Open.