Apr 3rd, 2016
Lexi Leads at ANA Inspiration
Charley Hull just two back
Words: Daniel Owen
Lexi Thompson likes the last hole at the Dinah Shore course at Mission Hills. She holed a 30 footer at the last Friday to take the lead at the ANA Inspiration. On Saturday she eagled the last, lacing a five iron in to the middle of the green before watching it roll up to around 12 feet. She converted the putt to regain the lead after a shoddy front 9.
“Yeah, I was a little off,” Thompson said about her putting. “I thought the practice green was a lot faster today, and I got out there, and they were a little slower. I was just a little timid, but putting is all about confidence, so I just need to roll a few in and get that confidence going.”
This is some chasing pack though. 15 players within four of the lead, six of those major champions. Lydia Ko is lurking in second just one back, and is trying to be the youngest player since Young Tom Morris to have two major titles. She's joined in second place by Ariya Jutanugarn who will tee off in the final group with Lexi. “I didn't’t bring my driver out this week, so no driver, only 3-wood and 2-iron.” Even more impressive is she's still 10th in driving distance this week.
A further shot behind them lies Charley Hull. Charley blitzed her finish, birdieing the last four holes to jump through the pack and stay in contention. She enjoys this tournament, first playing as an amateur in 2012, coming 38th.
“Yeah, I’m buzzing for it. I love this golf course. It reminds me of a couple years ago,” said Hull. “I was in a similar position a couple behind the lead going into the final round. I’m going to hit a couple of balls, work on my driver in a minute, and have an early night.” She continued. “The difference to now is I feel like I’m a little bit more mature, and actually someone -- the guy who first caddied for me in this tournament four years ago is a pro here, and he came up to me. I said to him, you look like you’ve lost weight, and he goes, so do you; you’re less chubby now. I’m like, yeah, I’ve lost my puppy fat I reckon. No more Chubby Charley hopefully, but I will be eating plenty of chocolate.”
Michelle Wie is one further back. She made four out of four sand saves and had only 26 putts, her fewest this year. “The scoreboard is definitely packed. There’s a lot of big names up there, a lot of players that have won major championships, as well. So tomorrow is going to definitely be a test, and hopefully I’m just going to go out there and not think about anyone else and just try to play the golf course that I know how to play.”
We're pulling for Lexi. Or Charley. Or Michelle. Or Lydia. Sod it, we don't care who wins we just want to see a few more fireworks in the final round.