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Jacksonville’s Amelia Lewis, partner of Paula Reto, grabs 36-hole lead in LPGA team event

Amelia Lewis has the 36-hole lead in the LPGA's Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich., after she and teammate Paula Reto shot 61 on Friday.

Amelia Lewis has the 36-hole lead in the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich., after she and teammate Paula Reto shot 61 on Friday.

Amelia Lewis finds herself with the 36-hole lead in an LPGA tournament after 12 years and 142 starts.

The Jacksonville native, playing this week with South African Paula Reto in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, shot 3-under on her ball and the two carved out a best-ball 9-under 61 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over two other teams at the Midland (Mich.) Country Club.

Lewis and Reto, who finished in a tie for 15th last season in the same event, are 14-under-par 126. Jodi Wart Shadoff and Emma Talley; and Matilda Castreen and Kelly Tan are tied at 13-under.

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The tournament format is alternate shot in the first and third rounds and best ball in the second and fourth.

“We look forward to this event every year,” Lewis told the Associated Press. “We plan it in January, which outfits we’re going to wear. We’re just looking forward to tomorrow and just this whole week.”

They also had to wait out a rain delay of more than two hours after they played their first four holes 1-over But after their return, they shot 9-under.

Lewis caught fire with three birdies in a four-hole stretch at Nos. 8, 9 and 11, then added two more birdies at Nos. 14 and 15.

“We had a slow start with the rain delay, but then when we got back out there we gave ourselves a little pep-talk Lewis said. “Just said, `One shot at a time. Let’s give ourselves good opportunities. We made a lot of birdies.'”

Reto holed her second shot for eagle on the par-4 fifth after the delay.

The teams will play alternate shot Friday and better-ball Saturday, with many of the players then traveling to France for the Evian Championship next week.

Lewis made his first cut of the 2023 season but has only played in the last two weeks. She has battled injuries and has gotten 20 starts in the last five years, with only three cuts made. Her last full season was in 2018 when she had 18 starts, capping a five-year stretch in which she averaged 20 starts per season.

Lewis is a Bolles graduate who turned professional in 2010. She was just the second Jacksonville native to earn LPGA Tour status and also has dual status with the Ladies European Tour.

She’s in position for her first top-10 finish since 2016, when she tied for ninth at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Her career-best finish was a tie for sixth at the 2014 Australian Open.

Lewis finished second in the 2013 New Zealand Women’s Open to Lydia Ko.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville native Amelia Lewis, Paula Reto, grab LPGA Dow Great Lakes lead