ANA Inspiration: Lexi Thompson stays a fixture on leaderboard in quest for second title
Lexi Thompson did nothing Saturday to disrupt the historically good run she is on at the ANA Inspiration. With a 3-under 69, Thompson (...)
Lexi Thompson did nothing Saturday to disrupt the historically good run she is on at the ANA Inspiration. With a 3-under 69, Thompson finished tied for third entering Sunday, a familiar position for her at Mission Hills Country Club.
Thompson won the ANA title in 2014 in a final-round duel with Michelle Wie, then lost the title in 2017 when she famously was hit with four penalty shots on the back nine Sunday for a violation with marking a ball the day before that was picked up on video. Instead of cruising to the title, she lost the championship to Seo Yeon Ryu in a playoff.
But Thompson also had a third-place finish in the event in 2019 and was fifth in 2016. In all, she has five finishes of seventh or better in the last six years.
LEADERBOARD: ANA Inspiration
Now she is in position for a second victory at Mission Hills, a win many fans still feel she deserves. She will start Sunday’s final round just two shots off the lead.
“It would mean the world to me to win another major, especially on this golf course as it’s one of my favorites we play all year,” Thompson said. “Just going to go out tomorrow and keep hitting good shots and hopefully a few more putts will fall on the back nine.”
Nelly Korda was on a pace through two rounds that could have threatened the ANA Inspiration 72-hole scoring mark. That is 19-under 269 established in 1999 by Dottie Pepper. In winning her second ANA title, Pepper shots rounds of 70-66-67-66. She cruised to the victory over Meg Mallon by six shots. At 12-under through 54 holes, Korda or Brooke Henderson would have to shoot 65 in the final round Sunday to match Pepper’s record.
Queen of the lake
While the tournament is missing much of the pageantry of usual years, at least one veteran Hall of Famer and past champion of the event was at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course on Saturday. That was three-time winner Amy Alcott, winner in 1983, 1988 and 1991 and the player who first dove into the lake around the 18th hole long before it was called Poppie’s Pond. Alcott is a homeowner at Mission Hills, so she can be in her backyard to watch play.
Linnea Strom checked of Sweden produced the first 2020 hole-in-one of the tournament Saturday when she aced the par-3 eighth hole. Strom used an 8-iron from 161 yards. The ace capped a three-hole run by Strom that saw her make a double bogey, a bogey and the eagle with the ace. She finished the day with an even-par 72.
The best finish by an amateur in the history of the ANA Inspiration came in 1988 when Carolina Keggi of the University of New Mexico finished fourth. That record might be in some jeopardy Sunday.
Rose Zhang, the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, is tied for seventh at 8-under par, just four shots off the lead. Zhang, who won the ANA Junior Inspiration and made the cut in the major in 2018, shot 4-under 68 on Saturday including a hole out for an eagle on the second hole.
Zhang is two shots ahead of Gabi Ruffels in the battle for low amateur this year. Ruffels managed a 71 on Saturday despite two double bogeys on the back nine.