Lexi’s Sitting Pretty for First LPGA Win
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

Sweet home Alabama!

16-year-old Lexi Thompson is only 18 holes away from becoming the youngest winner on the LPGA after shooting a five-under 67 in the third round of the Navistar LPGA Classic to take a five-shot lead.

Last time Thompson was in this position, she was also in Alabama. In May at the Avnet LPGA Classic she was the 54-hole co-leader, but made two double-bogeys on the back nine to shoot 78 on Sunday and place tied for 19th.

This is how scary good Lexi is striking the ball: She’s hit 50 of 54 greens in regulation. Meanwhile, for the third straight round, she’s needed 30 putts or more, so perhaps she could improve in that category.

With a victory, Lexi could also qualify for LPGA membership without having to put up with the rest of the qualifying process, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Jeff Shain:

Thompson received a waiver to the LPGA’s age minimum this summer, allowing her to try to achieve her card in the three-phase qualifying process. She cruised through the first stage in July, finishing 10 shots ahead of the field after four days at LPGA International in Daytona Beach.

If Lexi holds on, she’ll receive a spot at the LPGA’s season-ending CME Titleholders, November 14-17 in Orlando.

She started the day with a two-stroke lead, but quickly built on it, posting five birdies on the front nine. Lexi is 15-under through 54 holes and the nearest competitor is Meena Lee at 10-under. The multi-talented Tiffany Joh is tied for third at eight-under, along with Karen Stupples and Becky Morgan.

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)