Positivity the key as Thompson takes slim lead

American Lexi Thompson takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Meijer Classic. She will be hoping that she will not falter like she did at last week's Manulife LPGA Classic.
American Lexi Thompson takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Meijer Classic. She will be hoping that she will not falter like she did at last week's Manulife LPGA Classic.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) • American Lexi Thompson, who is seeking to rebound from a play-off loss last week, fired a five-under 64 to grab a slim lead after a rain-hit third round at the Meijer Classic on Saturday.

She reached a 196 total and leads by one stroke over a myriad of golfers including South Koreans Park Sung Hyun and Jenny Shin, Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa and Brooke Henderson of Canada.

"It was just a matter of staying patient," said Thompson. "I knew I was hitting it well on the front nine, I just wasn't making the birdies.

"But I hit it well all day, so it was all a matter of hitting the shots closer and I guess just taking advantage of (the par-five) No. 11, reaching that one in two, and making a few putts for birdie."

Thompson, who had six birdies and one bogey, also had a one-shot lead starting the final round at last week's Manulife LPGA Classic in Ontario. She enjoyed a two-shot cushion with two holes to play before three-putting both to fall into a three-way play-off. Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn eventually won and became the world No. 1.

"I've been focusing on staying positive and making sure I do my routine on every shot and making sure I'm fully relaxed over my shots and in between shots," Thompson, an eight-time LPGA Tour winner, told Golf Channel.

"I sometimes overthink things. I've been focusing on staying positive."

On Saturday, the golfers had to endure a two-hour rain delay at the Blythefield Country Club course.

Pace dominated a course softened by rain with a 61. Park shot a 62 and Shin a 63.

Henderson, who led after each of the first two rounds, fell out of first place after a 67 but remained within striking distance of her first win of the year.

The course was reduced to a par 69 after heavy rains turned the par-five fifth hole into a par-three because of pools of water.

Pace, 36, began the day at two under but picked up five shots on the front nine with three birdies and an eagle. After a bogey to start the back nine, she made another eagle at No. 11.

"I played really nicely," she said. "My irons were really good. I was looking at birdie on almost every hole, which was nice."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2017, with the headline 'Positivity the key as Thompson takes slim lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe