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Byline: Sarah Z. Sleeper
She's known for her beaming smile, but there were tears in Nancy Lopez's eyes that Sunday in July 1997.
Lopez had just suffered a one-stroke defeat in the U.S. Open at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in Cornelius, Ore.
It was her fourth runner-up finish in the tournament, which remains the only major she hasn't won. Still, Lopez took her seat in the pressroom -- something some golfers aren't willing to do after a loss.
When asked how she felt, she wiped her eyes. Her answer: The close score taught her that she was capable of winning that tournament. She took a loss and turned it into a personal lesson.
"I was blown away by the mental toughness and the wisdom of Nancy Lopez," said Leslie Day Craige, editor in chief of Golf For Women magazine. "The way she handled that defeat was a defining moment in her career as an …