Jun 12th, 2017
Lexi falters to play off defeat
Late bogeys prove critical
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
Lexi Thompson was two ahead with two to play at the Manulife LPGA Classic but bogeyed 17 and 18 to end up in a play off with In Gee Chun and eventual winner Ariya Jutanugarn at Whistle Bear, Ontario, Canada..
Lexi was fighting back the tears under her sunglasses but was extremely graceful in defeat. This was her second play off loss of the season following Armchair-Gate when a member of the public ended up costing her an outright victory at the ANA Inspirational, the first major of the year.
“I just struggled with the putter,” she admitted. “I made everything seemed like all week, and then just two last putts I guess on the last two holes -- actually last three holes. I had like a five-footer, six-footer, and about a four-footer and missed them all. If I made those I would've won, but that's golf I guess.”
Lexi was in a great shape on the 72nd hole of the tournament in regulation after smashing her drive to within a half-wedge distance. She hit a poor approach, by her own admission, and then missed a four-footer that would have sealed the deal.
She ended up in the same place in the playoff and couldn’t finish the job. Ariya Jutanugarn made birdie and that was that.
Watch the play off here:
“Just my pitching has been a little rough and I've just been hitting it short a lot," lamented Lexi. "Just didn't commit to it. I was in between numbers, and with the wind and knowing that you have to stop it really quick, just didn't commit. That's all.”
Lexi is confident she will get over this within a couple of days and reckons she's on target to win again soon.
“I know with where my game is at, every time I tee it up I know I'm trying to win and I know I have a good chance of it,” she said.
Ariya Jutanugarn, who had struggled with the driver all week, was understandably surprised and delighted to claim the win.
“I just can't believe I win the tournament," she said. "I didn't expect anything at all, because like when I got here I didn't feel comfortable with my swing. I didn't feel like -- my tee shots (were) not that good,” she said. “It's like surprise for me. I never think I can win here.”
Ariya, who won five times last year, rolled in a 25-foot putt on the first play off hole for her first win of the year.
“Feel great. Feel like I breakthrough,” she said with a beaming smile. “I feel like I (had to) wait for my first win this year for a while.“