With only a few months separating Lydia Ko from her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, another precocious prodigy might be on the verge of taking her game to an even higher level. Everybody recognizes the talent possessed by Lexi Thompson. She won both LPGA and Ladies European Tour events before her rookie season on the LPGA Tour. She has won since joining the LPGA Tour, capturing the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia last month. And if she can close the deal on Sunday at the 2013 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, we just might be witnessing the inception of a dominant run by a player who is still only 18 years old. All of the talent and promise may be coming to a successful fruition before our eyes. But…she has to finish the job in round four. As I said yesterday, her second round 64 coming off of last month’s victory might signal big things for Lexi on moving day. Indeed, she followed her sensational second round 8-under with a 5-under 67 in the third round, tying for low round of the day and vaulting her into solo first place on the penultimate day of action. Thompson had an up and down even round first day, finishing with 3 birdies and 3 bogeys, including a downer of an ending by bogeying 18. However, she has been nothing short of spectacular since, draining 13 birdies against zero bogeys over the last 36 holes.
There are a lot of great players on tour. They wouldn’t be on the LPGA Tour if they hadn’t been successful elsewhere. With that, there are special players who have careers loaded with surpassing achievements, be that reaching #1, winning multiple Majors, qualifying for the Hall of Fame, etc. But there are a precious few players who have an extra plateau they can ascend to where they look like they are toying with the rest of the field, like they are playing a different game than everybody else. Oddly enough, some of those players are very streaky. They never reach #1 or the Hall of Fame. One such player is Suzann Pettersen. She hasn’t been #1 yet (although that could change soon), but if you follow the LPGA, you know that when Tutta has everything working she can be untouchable. Others do reach that level while also reaching the top. There were many times Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Yani Tseng were so dominant that they effectively ended any speculation about who would win a tournament by Saturday. When they were firing on all cylinders, it was just a matter of how much would they win by. At this point, Lexi doesn’t belong in either category. However, I think the ability to put herself in that realm of Golf Goddesses is there, ready to bubble over. First, she needs to finish off this tournament. That will be no easy task. In Kyung Kim, So Yeon Ryu and former world #1 Stacy Lewis are all on Lexi’s heels. They will not roll over just because fans think Lexi might be on the verge of realizing her potential. So don’t think I am counting this as a Lexi win yet. Not at all. What I am saying is that I think that Lexi has the talent in her to be spoken of in the same breath as Suzann Pettersen, and if she continues to win and becomes dominant, maybe Annika, Lorena and Yani one day. That day is not today. And it isn’t Sunday either, even if she wins. But Sunday could be the starting line of a journey that will one day see Lexi Thompson in the Hall of Fame. She’s that good.
Four players tied for low round of the day at 67: Lexi Thompson, In Kyung Kim, Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie. Lexi, Inky and Stacy rode their 67s into a 1, 2, 3 finish on day 3 while Michelle leapfrogged from 20th to 10th.
Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen are tied at 8-under as the race for Player of the Year remains too close to call. Will Tutta make a move on Sunday or will Queen Bee hold off the charge?
Unfortunately, Beatriz Recari pulled out sick. Here’s wishing the 3-time LPGA winner gets well soon.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE (Pics are from both Round 3 and the Lorena Ochoa Foundation Gala)
IN KYUNG KIM
SO YEON RYU
THE FOLLOWING PICS ARE FROM THE GALA AND FEATURE PLAYERS SUCH AS PAULA CREAMER, MICHELLE WIE, JESSICA KORDA, BRITTANY LINCICOME, SANDRA GAL, MORGAN PRESSEL…AW HECK, TOO MANY TO NAME ALL OF THEM…JUST ENJOY! AS PER USUAL, CLICK FOR LARGER SIZES 🙂
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