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Behind the Swings: Stacy Lewis Overcomes the Odds to Master the LPGA

Stacy tees off at a tournament in April. She tied for second place! (Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Stacy tees off in April. This shot, and several others, helped her win this major tournament! (Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Stacy Lewis is tearing up the golf course this year, currently sitting at number six on the 2011 LPGA Money List. But there's much more to her story than you see on the links.

Before winning her first LPGA tournament this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship (where the picture, at left, was taken), Stacy was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11. She spent the next seven and a half years in a back brace, and endured back surgery—which added a titanium rod and five screws to her frame—that left doctors wondering if she would ever walk again. But Stacy bounced back in amazing form, not only walking but coming back swinging. She helped her University of Arkansas women's golf team win the NCAA Championship just two years later.

Today, Stacy supplements her busy golf life with philanthropic work, including her role as the spokesperson for the Scoliosis Research Society. (Coincidentally, June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. To find out more information and to support the cause, click here.) We spoke with Stacy to steal her training program and find out more about her golf idols.

What does a typical week on tour look like for you?

Mondays are usually travel days. Tuesday I practice, Wednesday is the Pro-Am tournament and Thursday through Sunday is the tournament itself.

Wow! That's an intense schedule. So what's the most golf you've ever played consecutively?

At the end of last year, I had six weeks of tournaments in a row. By the end of that stretch, it was time for a week off!

Keep reading to find out how Stacy stays in tourney-ready shape and learn her top tip for golf beginners.

Do you cross train to stay in shape?

In addition to golf, I exercise five days a week. For cardio, I run 20 to 30 minute intervals with one minute at a faster pace, the next at a slower pace. My trainer helped me to develop a strength training plan that I can follow nearly anywhere, which I complete after my interval session. I focus a lot on squats, lunges and throwing a medicine ball against the wall and the ground, since having strong legs and a solid core help me hit the ball farther.

What does a beginner need to know to improve her game?

Flexibility and core strength are both key for beginners to rotate through their swing properly. I stretch before and after every time I play.

Is there a difference between the ways women and men approach their golf games?

Men are built differently, and they use their forearms and wrists to hit tough shots out of the rough. Powerful legs and hips help women hit the ball well.

If you could create any foursome to tee off with for a round, who would you invite?

Annika Sorenstam, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Juli Inkster. I'd pick their brains and ask them about all of their wins!

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