Lexi Thompson Takes A 3-shot Lead At The Cme Group Tour Championship
Lexi Thompson tied for the low round of the day with a five-under-par 67 on Friday to build a three-shot lead halfway through the L.P.G.A.’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla.
Thompson, 23, strung together seven consecutive pars to begin her round, then carded her first birdie on the par-3 eighth hole. She added another on the par-3 12th and then closed out her round with three consecutive birdies to reach 12 under for the tournament.
She is playing this week with her younger brother, Curtis, on her bag. She recently parted with her caddie, Kevin McAlpine. This is Thompson’s final opportunity to extend her streak of winning at least one tournament every year since 2014.
Brittany Lincicome was two shots ahead of the field, at 13 under, when she double-bogeyed the 15th hole. While Thompson was putting together her run, Lincicome bogeyed each of her final two holes to card a one-under 71 and drop into a tie with the first-round leader, Amy Olson, who shot a 72 to sit at nine under.
That set the stage for a dramatic weekend. Neither Thompson nor Lincicome is in the hunt to win the $1 million CME Race to the Globe bonus. Thompson won it last year despite missing a 2-foot par putt on the 72nd hole and losing the 2017 version of this event by a stroke.
Ariya Jutanugarn, the world No. 1, was in a tie for 20th at three under after shooting a 71 on Friday. Last year, she sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the tournament, and she remains atop the projected CME Globe standings.
Brooke Henderson (tied for 25th at this event at two under) is currently projected to finish second, followed by Minjee Lee (tied for 43rd, one over), Nasa Hataoka (tied for 13th, four under) and Sung Hyun Park (tied for 37th, even).
Thompson is currently projected to move up to No. 6 with a victory.
Americans dominated the first page of the leaderboard at the Tiburon Golf Club, with Nelly Korda and Marina Alex equaling Thompson’s score on Friday to sit in a tie for fourth place at eight under.
“It was a great day. Happy to be back in position,” said Alex, who bogeyed 18 to miss out on shooting a 66. “If the conditions warm up again and the wind drops, the scores will go back to being pretty low for the weekend, so you’ve just got to play aggressive golf.”