American Lexi Thompson regained the lead by firing her second superb 64 this week during the third round of the US$1.6 Million Honda LPGA Thailand to grab a four stroke lead at the Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course yesterday.
While most of her fellow players labored to shoot scores, the American made it look like a walk in the park through 15 holes with eight birdies. Despite a bogey on the 16th, she bounced back to fire her ninth birdie on the day on the 18 th to sign off with another 64 she also achieved on Thursday for a total 16-uner-par 200.
“It was a good day out there, very solid. I just made sure I had fun out there and stayed positive. I missed a putt on the first hole which got me down a little bit, but I tried to stay positive going into the next hole and fire at pins like I did the first day,” said the world No 4 who is the only player this week to hit a 64.
The six-time LPGA winner is now the favourite to become the first American to triumph at the par 72 6,548 yard course. The 21-year-old has posted top 20 finishes in her two previous events this year in Bahamas and back home in Florida and now stands a shot at improving her best attempt in Pattaya after a tied fifth here in 2014.
“Tomorrow, same game plan as today. Go into it with a positive attitude, just focus on my game, do my routine, see my shots and commit to them. That's all I can do,” said the 2014 Kraft Nabisco champion.
Four strokes further at lone second was LPGA rookie In Gee Chun of South Korea who carded an error free 66 and a total 12-uner-par 204. She won the 2015 US Open title when she was mot the tour member.
“This is my second tournament on the LPGA Tour, and everybody came to support me, so I'm really happy about today. (for tomorrow) Every day the dream stays the same. It's been my dream as well. It's a dream come true. I'm going to enjoy it. That is my goal this whole year,” said the 21 year old South Korean.
Overnight leader and defending champion Amy Yang of South Korea, with two shot lead at start, traded three birdies with three bogeys after 14 holes before sinking two straight birdies on the 17 th and 18th holes to finish with a 70 and a total 205, five off the lead.
“It wasn't the round that I was expecting. I struggled a little bit. But to finish with a couple of birdies, I was still hanging in there, trying to do my best. Yeah, just it's okay. I'm looking forward to playing again tomorrow,” said Yang
2009 runner-up Hee Yung park of South Korea carded seven birdies against a lone bogey on the 17 th hole for a 66 and a three-day total of nine-under-par 207 to stand alone at fourth.
Thai No 1 Pornanong Phatlum, after shouldering two bogeys after 16 holes, sank back-to-back birdies including the finishing hole with a stunning 20 foot chipping birdie. She handed out the third round scorecard of a 72 for a three day total of two-under-par 214 to take the joint 21st place.
“I didn’t start well , making three bogeys after six holes. I had so many thoughts in my head as I there were a lot of fans coming to cheer and I didn’t want to let them down. But I tried to hang in there at the back nine. The last two birdies really helped me ,” said the Thai who leaped into the air in jubilant after her birdie shot hit the pin and fell right into the hole. She finished with a double bogey on this same hole on Friday.
“That picture of that double bogey was still bothering me on the 18th today. But I went for my chipping and luckily it fell in. Tomorrow I have to focus better in order to achieve my target of making the top 10 finish,” added Pornanong who was followed a stroke behind by countrywoman Moriya Jutanugarn who swapped four birdies with four bogeys to settle with an even par and a total one-under-par 215.