Lexi goes three clear

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WIL­LIAMS­BURG: Lexi Thomp­son ex­tended her lead to three shots on Fri­day at the LPGA Kingsmill Cham­pi­onship af­ter post­ing a sec­ond straight six-un­der-par 65.

At 12-un­der 130 af­ter two rounds, Lexi was half­way to her first win of the 2017 sea­son. Play­ing part­ner and fel­low Amer­i­can Ge­rina Piller was alone in sec­ond af­ter a 67.

Four shots be­hind Lexi at 134 were New Zealand’s World No 1 Ly­dia Ko, who carded a 67, and Amer­i­can Candie Kung, whose 66 in the sec­ond round in­cluded an ea­gle on the par-four sixth hole.

Five back were Chung In-Gee (66) of South Korea and Vicky Hurst (67).

Lexi and the rest of the field en­dured a rain de­lay, but the long-hit­ting Amer­i­can was stel­lar with six birdies and no bo­geys while hit­ting 16 of 18 greens in reg­u­la­tion on the River Course at Kingsmill Re­sort.

“It’s just a good golf course for me,” she said. “I get to hit a lot of driv­ers, ac­tu­ally, a lot of 3-woods out here as well. I just love the shape of the golf course. It’s in per­fect shape for us once again this year.”

Lexi is play­ing in her third event since she lost the first ma­jor of the year, the ANA In­spi­ra­tion, in a play­off af­ter a tele­vi­sion viewer called in a rules vi­o­la­tion and she was as­sessed a penalty.

“I feel great with where my game is at,” she said.

Ge­rina, who was in a group that trailed Lexi by one shot af­ter the open­ing round, had an­other solid round but al­ter­nated birdies and bo­geys on the fi­nal four holes of the day.

“Made some putts early and just couldn’t get up and down the last cou­ple,” said Ge­rina, who has never won on the LPGA Tour.

Ly­dia was in good po­si­tion af­ter back-to-back 67s. She was bo­gey-free in the sec­ond round as she pur­sues her first win since July.

“All I need to do is fo­cus on my game and be ex­cited for the week­end,” she said.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Ariya Ju­tanu­garn of Thai­land, who is chal­leng­ing Ly­dia for the No 1 rank­ing, was nine strokes be­hind the leader af­ter a 67. AFP

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