Lewis eyes Amateur Public Links qualifier
Field of 22 set for Thursday's sectional at The Oaks

COVINGTON - Every golfer is always looking for an edge.

Some try to gain the advantage with technology while others try to gain it through their course knowledge.

While Covington's Cherry Lewis frequently plays at The Oaks Course, she doesn't think it's going to give her that big of an advantage when she's one of 22 players competing Thursday in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links sectional qualifier.

"The Oaks (Course) is where I have my handicap established. I really don't have a home course," Lewis said. "Depending on your game that day is what's challenging. It gets a little iffy out there. You're at an advantage if you know where to go but sometimes when you don't know where to go you shoot conservative and that's when you normally shoot your better round."

The U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links is open to amateur female golfers who since Jan. 1 of the current year have been bona fide public course players with an up-to-date handicap index not exceeding 18.4 under the United States Golf Association handicap system.

Thursday's event at The Oaks is the first of 40 sectional qualifying rounds to be held around the country from May 15-31. The qualifiers from all the sectionals will earn a spot in the 32nd U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship on June 16-21 at Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin, Wis.

Even though this is Lewis' first attempt at trying to qualify for the Women's Amateur Public Links championship, she is no stranger to competitive golf, having played at the collegiate level at Tennessee Tech.

"I haven't played competitive golf since I left college back in 2002. I've played in tournaments, but not competitive like this," Lewis said. "I always want to win it all and have a spot to go on."

Whoever walks away as the winner of the sectional will probably have to shoot as close to an even-par 71 as possible. While Lewis would like to be in the top four, she wants the win.

"I would love to win everything," Lewis said. "My goal is always shooting in the 70s, but my goal is to shoot even par. To be certain, you have to play well."

While par is usually a good score, last year Brooke Pancake won the event with a 4-under-par 66.

The only other recent below par score posted at The Oaks for qualifying was in 2004 when Brittney Lancicome set the record shooting a 5-under-par 65.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.