Even though she averaged only 246 yards off the tee and hit only 9 fairways today, amateur Alexis Thompson shot the low score among the morning pairings in the Navistar Classic on the strength of an 8-birdie 65. The teenager's only blemish came as she closed out the back 9, her front, when she bogeyed the par-4 18th to settle for a 34 on that side. But she responded with a closing 31 on the front to zoom past former teenage phenom Michelle Wie, whose walkoff bogey on the 9th, her only mistake of the day, forced her to accept an opening 66.
Lisa Strom joins Wie at -6, thanks to birdies on her 1st 4 holes to start off the back and 2 birdies in her last 3 holes to close out the front. A walkoff bogey on the 9th by Na Yeon Choi, the only blip in an otherwise flawless round, puts her 2 shots behind Thompson's pace, even with bogey-free Katherine Hull (who averaged under 240 off the tee) and 8-birdie Meaghan Francella (who averaged over 275). Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, and M.J. Hur are another shot back at -4.
Thompson's 65 is even more impressive when you consider that Ya Ni Tseng and Song-Hee Kim shot 71s and In-Kyung Kim and Vicky Hurst 72s. And that nobody in the afternoon pairings is doing better than -3 right now (Ochoa and Angela Park through 9, Inbee Park through 6, Eunjung Yi through 7, and Allison Hanna through 5)....
[Update 1 (10/2/09, 12:54 am): Staying at a friend's house in Rochester a couple of days earlier than expected b/c of a miscommunication on my hotel reservation, so got to watch ESPN with him tonight. Given Thompson's and Wie's great rounds, I can understand their choosing to overlook Janice Moodie's amazing performance--13 of 14 faiways hit, averaging 283 yards off the tee, 15 of 18 greens hit, and still only 25 putts for a bogey-free 64--but, man, that has to be one of the best rounds by anyone all season! Oh, and don't look now, but Lorena Ochoa hit every green yesterday on her way to a bogey-free 66. And did you see the slew of 67s--including by Inbee Park and Pornanong Phatlum--from the afternoon pairings? Things are shaping up to be very interesting this week, even if 69s by Morgan Pressel, Angela Park, Maria Hjorth, Hee-Won Han, Jennifer Rosales, Julieta Granada, and Paige Mackenzie seem pedestrian by comparison, 70s by Sophie Gustafson, Stacy Prammanasudh, and Haeji Kang leave them 8 off the lead, and Cristie Kerr, Sun Young Yoo, and Natalie Gulbis (all 71s, T53!) have their work cut out from them just give themselves a chance to get into the mix on the weekend. I'm out--here are interviews with the leaders from LPGA.com....]