MIAMI • Lexi Thompson, trying to extend her streak of LPGA seasons with at least one victory to eight, fired a seven-under 65 on Thursday to head the LPGA season finale Tour Championship field.
The American, who won the event in 2018, had a one-shot lead over Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who fired a bogey-free 66 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, to put herself in the mix for a first LPGA title.
Thompson, whose 14 LPGA titles include one Major, jump-started her round with birdies at the second, third and fourth holes, and added another brace at the sixth and seventh.
She bounced back from a bogey at the par-four ninth with a birdie at the par-three 12th, before ending with back-to-back birdies.
“It was great just being out here,” said the Florida native, although Covid-19 restrictions meant her usual group of family members could not attend the event.
“It’s a lot different,” said Thompson, whose brother, Curtis, was on her bag. “But we’re just happy to be playing this week and my brother and I had a lot of fun.”
As in 2018, she is in search of her first win of the season at Tiburon.
Coming off a missed cut last week at the US Women’s Open, the world No. 11 said she was more focused on improvements to her game than stretching her streak of seasons with at least one victory.
“I was just overall very happy with how I committed to my shots,” she said.
“I’ve been working so hard on my game in general trying to improve on it, and it’s been kind of an up-and-down roller coaster with an unfortunate week last week.”
Defending champion Kim Sei-young of South Korea was among a trio sharing third on 67 alongside Germany’s Caroline Masson and American Megan Khang.
World No. 2 Kim is coming off her first Major victory at the women’s PGA Championship in October, which was followed by a win at the inaugural Pelican Championship.
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World No. 1 and compatriot Ko Jin-young headed a group of six players on 68, while former top-ranked Park In-bee – who holds a slight edge over fellow South Korean Kim in the Player of the Year race – opened with a 71.
American Danielle Kang, who is also in the hunt for Player of the Year honours after back-to-back wins earlier this year, also carded a 71.
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