Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Sunday: Lexi Thompson Wins!

Lexi Thompson fired her 4th-straight round in the 60s to win the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia by 4 shots over last week's winner Shanshan Feng.  After a slow start that included her 1st bogey in 34 holes and no birdies on the front, Thompson stood at -16 on the 10th tee, with a 2-shot lead on Ilhee Lee and a 3-shot lead on Feng (Suzann Pettersen had doubled the same hole Thompson bogeyed and also failed to make a birdie on the front).

But 3 holes and 3 birdies later and Thompson's lead was insurmountable.  She actually got it to -20 for the week with a birdie on the par-5 16th, at which point she was 6-up on Feng and 7-up on Lee.  In the end, Pettersen caught Lee at -12 with a 4-birdie burst on the back, while Amy Yang fired a 66 to become the 5th and final player to get to double digits under par.  Tying Yang for low round of the day were Sandra Gal (-8, T6 with Stacy Lewis, Beatriz Recari, Chella Choi, Karine Icher, and Alison Walshe) and Na Yeon Choi (for whom it was her 3rd-straight round in the 60s after opening with a disastrous 76).  Speaking of disasters, Ya Ni Tseng (81), Cristie Kerr (80), Caroline Masson (77), and Brittany Lang (76) will have to forget this Sunday as quickly as possible.

But for Lexi Thompson, this will be a week to remember.  She beat fellow teen sensations Charley Hull and Mamiko Higa by 23 and 18 shots, respectively.  Much more important, she beat the 3 hottest players on the planet by 4, 7, and 11 shots.  Finally her putting was on par with her ball-striking--she never took more than 30 putts in any single round, and only took 30 once, today.  On a short course that I thought favored precision players, Thompson beat Paula Creamer by 13 shots, In-Kyung Kim by 14, Ji-Yai Shin by 17, Ai Miyazato by 19, and Mika Miyazato by 20.

All I can say is WOW!  This is the kind of win that can kick-start a truly great run of golf.  Let's see if Lexi can keep it going next week in Korea against KLPGA young guns like Hyo Joo Kim, Ha Na Jang, and In Gee Chun, not to mention stars like Ha Neul Kim and Soo Jin Yang.  And don't look now, but Grace Park will be taking a final curtain call, too!

[Update 1 (12:35 pm):  Here's Brent Kelley and Golf Babes on Lexi's victory.  You think it's a coincidence that it comes the same week Lydia Ko petitioned the LPGA to waive its age minimum for membership?]

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