Meijer LPGA Classic Brings Out Champion Power from Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko

Champion talk: “I’m not really one to complain about pain because I just fight through it, but yeah, it’s hurting,” Thompson says. She then did what champion women leaders often do--got a massage and came back for more. Learn about...

Lexi Thompsons

Despite battling back issues throughout her second round, defending champion Lexi Thompson was able to fire a 4-under, 67, and will take a one shot lead into the weekend at 10-under-par at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.

“I’m not really one to complain about pain because I just fight through it, but yeah, it’s hurting,” Thompson admitted. “I’m going to go and get a rubdown and see if it goes away.”

Thompson started her day strong turning in 3-under, 33, to grab a share of the lead and claimed the outright lead with a birdie on the par-4 10th. Bogeys on 15 and 16 dropped Thompson out of the lead but the 21-year-old was able to bounce back with a pair of birdies to close her round on a high note.

“Yeah, it was definitely important to come back from the two bogeys,” Thompson explained. “I just hit a few errant drives there towards the end and made bogeys, but I played 17 and 18 well.  I got pretty lucky on 18, I will say that.”

While she may be struggling with the pain, don’t expect Thompson to back down from the challenge of trying to win her eighth LPGA Tour victory.

“Just got to fight through it,” Thompson explained. “I just try not to pay attention to it.  It was hurting just getting into posture for my golf shot, so it is what it is. I didn’t really want to pay attention to how bad it was hurting because then it brings more attention to it and it becomes a mind game.”

Thompson holds a one shot lead over a group of four players – In Gee Chun, Q Baek, So Yeon Ryu and Alena Sharp – on a bunched leaderboard where 32 golfers sit within five strokes of the lead.

“After last week at Sahalee this golf course feels more wide open,” Ryu explained. “I feel more comfortable, felt like be able to play more aggressive.  So I think that’s why you can see a lot of birdies out there and I think that’s why a lot of players playing really well.  I think next two days going to be quite similar I expect, so I think I’m just going to keep like aggressive playing like the last two days.”

79 players made the cut of 1-under 141.

KO AND HENDERSON STAY ON EACH OTHERS HEELS

Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson head into the third round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give both tied for 13th three shots back of 36-hole leader Lexi Thompson.

“I’m happy with the way I played,” Ko said. “I was pretty consistent and I just got to keep playing like this. My ball striking wasn’t as good as yesterday so hopefully it can get better progressively on the weekend.”

Henderson said that anyone in the field could end up being the winner.

“Anybody can win,” Henderson said. “Anybody can make something happen and it just takes two more really good days and hopefully looking at that trophy on Sunday.”

MEIJER SEES ANOTHER CANADIAN IN THE MIX

Canadian Alena Sharp posted a 4-under, 67 during the second round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Friday. Sharp started off the week with a 5-under, 66 making five birdies and a bogey-free round on Thursday and sits tied for second alongside Q Baek, In Gee Chun, and So Yeon Ryu.  Sharp said her low round on Friday had to do with the conditions of the course.

“The golf course is in great shape and the rain that we had this week, I think it softened up the greens just nicely that you can actually go at some of the tucked pins and keep it within 10 feet,” Sharp said. “There’s a lot of birdies out there because of that, so I took advantage of the softer conditions.  Saw that this morning scores were kind of low, so I knew I could do it, too.”

Sharp played her front nine consistently making five birdies with no bogeys but when it came to her back nine, Sharp made two birdies and a bogey on hole nine. Even with her lone bogey on nine, Sharp said that she played well and believes her game is firing on all cylinders.

“In the beginning I was getting a little frustrated, I didn’t hit it close to the pin, but then I think through six holes I started getting it right around the pin and had some birdies that fell,” Sharp said.  “Really played steady all day.  Struck it better today than yesterday.  I putted really well yesterday.  I putted pretty good today, too.  So everything in my game’s firing on all cylinders.”

MEIJER LPGA NUMBERS TO KNOW

-30 – Lexi Thompson is a combined 30-under par over the last seven rounds at this tournament

-6 – Lexi Thompson is 6-under par on the par 5s

6 – Lexi Thompson will sleep on the 36-hole lead for the sixth time in her career. She has converted three of the previous five into victories, including last year’s Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give

-1 – 1-under par is the lowest cut line at this event

12 – Three players made 12 birdies through two rounds, which is the most made on the course for the two days (Sei Young Kim, Minjee Lee and Jodi Ewart Shadoff)

–provided by the awesome women of the LPGA

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