Lewis, Thompson return to Alabama course where both built happy memories

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PRATTVILLE, Alabama — Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson have good reason to celebrate the LPGA Tour's return to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Capitol Hill complex.

The two battled for the victory in 2012 on The Senator course, with current No. 1 Lewis winning by two strokes. Thompson was the LPGA Tour's youngest winner at the time when she won the 2011 tournament at 16.

Both will try to duplicate their success in the tour's return to Prattville for the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Play begins Thursday on the 6,607-yard, par-72 links-style course.

The tournament was dropped from the schedule last year after losing its title sponsor.

"I was excited when this tournament came back on the schedule," said Lewis, a three-time winner this this year. "It's a place that I've played a lot over the last five years and I love playing here. So it's a great golf course for both of us.

"We both hit it far enough that you can kind of take it over some corners and make a bunch of birdies."

This is the final full-field event of the year. Lewis and the eighth-ranked Thompson, the Kraft Nabisco winner in April for her first major title, are the only players in the top 10 competing.

That puts even more of the spotlight on two Americans who have thrived in Alabama. Lewis also won the Mobile tournament in 2012. The field also includes No. 12 Cristie Kerr.

Former University of Alabama star Stephanie Meadow from Northern Ireland is in the field. She was third in the U.S. Women's Open in June in her professional debut.

"The field this week isn't probably what I think a lot of people would like, but I mean Lexi and I are here," Lewis said. "There's a lot of good players, a lot of young players. This is the last full-field event for a lot of people. There's a lot on the line this week, so it should be good golf and it should be fun."

Thompson, meanwhile, said returning to Prattville "brings back a lot of great memories." She won at 16 three years ago, a record that has since been broken by Lydia Ko at 15.

Thompson is a veteran when it comes to choosing her breakfast spot when she's in town. She said she eats at the same Waffle House each morning, and the restaurant has "LEXI" spelled out across the windows.

"There's a woman there that cooks and sings while she cooks. Her name's Valerie," said Thompson, who skips the signature menu item before competing. "I'm friends with her on Facebook and everything, we keep in touch. It's so awesome to go back in there and just be relaxed. I mean, they're such great fans in there, too. Obviously, great breakfast, but it's so cool to drive by every morning and see 'Lexi' on the sign."

She'd like to see her name on the winner's check, too.

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